Goshen County Economic Development Celebrates Awards For Wyoming Chamber Employee Of The Year And Wyoming Economic Development Association Innovation Award
Friday, September 28, 2018
Evanston, WY --- Goshen County Economic Development was honored with several awards this year at the 2018 Wyoming Working Together – Border to Border Conference held in Evanston, WY, September 19-21. This 2018 Economic Development Conference hosts community and economic development entities including: Wyoming Economic Development Association, Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce, Wyoming Main Street, local professionals in economic development organizations, community Chamber and Main Street programs, along with the Wyoming Business Council, Department of Workforce Services and other state and industry partners.
Goshen County Economic Development CEO, Ashley Harpstreith, presented Community Development Director, Sandy Hoehn, with the Wyoming Chamber Employee of the Year. Harpstreith noted, “Sandy Hoehn was nominated as her leadership and foresight of the Chamber has been mission critical to us. She is a vital member of this organization and works her tail off to get done what needs to be done with no complaints as there are countless hours (including after hours) we put in for community events. She was instrumental in bringing 3rd Thursdays to Main Street Torrington this year and was a big part of the merger of the Goshen County Economic Development Corporation, Goshen County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center in January of 2017.”
Goshen County Economic Development Corporation was also in receipt of the Wyoming Economic Development Association Innovation Award which recognized innovated projects significantly impacting a Wyoming community and its citizens. The award recognizes participants involved in a Wyoming innovative economic development project and highlights best practices. GCEDC CEO Ashley Harpstreith accepted the award on the behalf of the Cobblestone Hotel.
Upon receipt of the award, Harpstreith noted, “Recruiting a new hotel to Goshen County has been a goal of Goshen County Economic Development’s for many years. In fact, this project started with a feasibility study in 2012, which highlights how long it takes to sometimes get things done. Moving this project from vision to realization has taken the dedicated efforts of multiple people and organizations working on a collaborative basis. The site of the new hotel was a blighted property which previously served as the Covello car dealership. Together with the Environmental Protection Agency, Goshen County Lodging Tax Board, Wyoming Business Council, Goshen County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors Staff and Committees, MoFi and 16 local community members, the project came to fruition.”
GCEDC was able to leverage $1.2M in New Market Tax Credits to make this community funded project happen. Thanks to the vision of Neil Newman, the community was able to rally local investors to round out the funding of this project. Additional funding of $20,000 was awarded for clean up through the Goshen County Economic Development’s Progress Program for landscaping and redemption. The Progress Program is funded by the ¼ cent sales tax, as Goshen County is the only county in the State of Wyoming whose voters have supported the ¼ cent sales tax since 2006. GCEDC wrote a grant and leveraged funds through the Environmental Protection Agency and Wyoming DEQ for an environmental assessment to complete the necessary remediation of the blighted Main Street property.
The $6.5 million Cobblestone Hotel is an answer to Goshen County’s prayer. The 54-bed hotel will support the tourism and event economy. In 2017, Goshen County welcomed over 97,000 overnight visitors generating $2.7 million in travel spending resulting in 280 jobs with $1.5 million in travel generated taxes. The addition of this $6.5 million property will bring 12 new jobs and have an economic impact of $435,000 in tax revenues for the state of Wyoming and $315,000 for the City of Torrington over a five-year period. The Cobblestone Hotel is slated for opening in spring 2019. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on August 20, 2018.
Harpstreith concluded with, “Tourism efforts are in full swing in the GCEDC office now we have merged with the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. Together with the Goshen County Lodging Tax Board we helped leverage state dollars to install signage infrastructure and participate in marketing co-op programs and attended tourism trade shows to help promote the area. The addition of this hotel comes at a critical time for Goshen County’s tourism efforts.”
For more information about this project or the strategic plan of Goshen County Economic Development Corporation, please contact Ashley Harpstreith 307-532-5162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goshen County Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit organization created in 1987 to encourage business growth and build on local community assets. GCEDC’s mission is to cultivate boundless opportunity for business and community. The organization encompasses all economic development, Chamber of Commerce, Main Street, Visitor Center and tourism activities on the behalf of Goshen County.
Sandy Hoehn, Community Development Director, Ashley Harpstreith, Goshen County Economic Development Corp. CEO