Lovelock business owners will hobnob with AT&T officials at the first Business Brunch in Lovelock according to Pershing County Economic Development Authority Director Heidi Lusby-Angvick. The monthly events will alternate between Pershing and Humboldt County.
“We will be having our first Brunch on March 2. It will start at 9 a.m. and the location will be in the Black Rock Grill in their small dining room,” she said. “AT&T will have three representatives at the meeting because they did sponsor it. Our first speaker will be Tom Adams from Seven Troughs Distilling. I am inviting people from the downtown corridor such as Temptations and Nanny Jo’s. It will be invite-only to begin with and then may be opened up after that.”
Up to 30 guests are expected to attend the first in the series of meetings intended to build collaboration between businesses and attract new businesses to Pershing County and Humboldt County. The events will alternate each month between Lovelock and Winnemucca.
“I think I can fill the room with invited people that need to be there or could be doing business with Seven Troughs,” Lusby-Angvick told the PCEDA board last week. “That’s the thought.”
One or two PCEDA board members could be invited depending on projected attendance once the RSVPs are in, she said. The one hour event will include an update on the Nevada 95-80 Regional Development Authority, Adams’ presentation, audience questions and discussion.
“We’d also like to have a “Have and Want” session,” Lusby-Angvick told the PCEDA board. “You ... could say, I have two desks I want to get rid of, is anyone in this room interested? Or (another) could say, I want a poster board this size. I can’t find one, does anyone have one?”
The second brunch will be in Winnemucca possibly on Wednesday, April 6 with the speaker and location to be announced according to Jan Morrison, Co-Director of the Nevada 95-80 RDA.
“I haven’t confirmed the date with the speaker yet,” she told the PCEDA board.
Vacant industrial and commercial sites are being inspected for contamination, cleaned up if needed, given a clean bill of health and declared “shovel ready” for economic development.
Pershing County may be awarded a second EPA Brownfield grant to continue the program.
“We are still moving forward but we are getting ready to close out that first grant,” Lusby-Angvick said. “There’s one (industrial park) property in particular that we as a Brownfield team are still focusing on and making sure that everything is going smoothly. We might extend that project into the next grant cycle with some more, not remediation, but some more monitoring.”
Seven Troughs Distilling owner Tom Adams might purchase a Lovelock property known as the “Windmill” that was certified by the EPA as uncontaminated and ready for redevelopment. Adams said he intends to install a liquor distillery in a vacant building on the downtown site.
Lusby-Angvick plans to compose a document for EPA-certified properties to help raise awareness of the Brownfield program’s value for city and county economic development.
“I still want to complete our certified site package that we would then attach properties’ information to. I need to submit that to the city and county so that they can start to look at that, understand it and then say, yes, we like it or, no, we need to change the wording.”
A “technical assistance” grant is funding research on marketing the Lovelock Industrial Park. Stakeholder meetings revealed what local business owners consider advantages of the area.
“Some of the interesting messages that came out of the stakeholder interviews were that it’s a fast permitting process, a business-friendly climate, less costly and there is available land,” Lusby-Angvick said. “It’s well suited for nuisance uses so, if there’s something that would be considered a nuisance in the middle of Reno, we might be better to have it here.”
Other local advantages include access to open space and a small-town rural lifestyle, potential for data centers and “shovel-ready sites that can be fast tracked through approvals.”
According to the stakeholder survey, weaknesses include the housing shortage, lack of “larger-market amenities” and lack of government services for massive industrial projects.
“Government services will need to expand with development. We are already feeling that with West Coast Salmon coming in,” Lusby-Angvick explained. “How do we get businesses that require more knowledge than our base has? I think some of the offices understand what that means. They are under the gun and they are looking to the commissioners for what's next.”
PCEDA board member David Skelton said government information on the county website, such as advisory board vacancies and department heads, needs to be corrected on a regular basis.
“We really need to update the county website so it’s closer to being correct. We have a deficit on our board that we need to correct,” he explained. “The county (website) as a whole has lots of outdated, not current, information which I hope will get taken care of through time rather than waiting six months or longer.”