By Mike McKibbin/NewsBreak Denver | June 2, 2022
[DOUGLAS COUNTY, COLO.] The Castle Pines City Council took the first step toward forming a regional economic development collaborative in Douglas County.
On May 24, the council became the first to approve a memorandum of understanding between the city, the county and 10 other entities:
• Douglas County School District;
• towns of Castle Rock, Larkspur and Parker;
• City of Lone Tree;
• Highlands Ranch Metro District;
• Douglas County Libraries;
• Castle Rock Economic Development Corp.;
• Denver South; and
• Northwest Douglas County Chamber & Economic Development Corp.
The agreement does not require any city money. Each entity is to appoint an elected official and staff member to work with the group's board of directors.
Adding to current efforts
Frank Gray, chief executive officer of the Castle Rock Economic Development Corp., has worked to form the collaborative. He said it would expand on the efforts of a subgroup of the Partnership of Douglas County Governments organization.
"None of us have the funds to do the bigger types of economic development projects, so together, I think we really might be great," Gray said in an interview. "If all of us in northwest Douglas County work together on a cohesive message, the benefit will be to all of us."
Gray noted economic development in Castle Rock has focused on smaller, 5-25 person businesses while Lone Tree has landed offices for larger companies like Charles Schwab and Kiewit Corp.
"Fighting among ourselves over things like this makes zero sense," Gray said. "This would further amplify the work that's already being done and take our economic development efforts to another level."
Seeking primary employers
Gray added Lone Tree, Parker, Castle Pines and Castle Rock have been seen as bedroom communities for workers with jobs elsewhere.
"We want to see those primary employers locate in Douglas County so our residents can stay in our communities," he said. "We already have a lot of retail base, we need more primary employment."
Gray said the county commissioners had encouraged the group effort but haven't determined how to fund it. That could involve a combination of private, municipal, county, state and federal sources.
Gray would like to have all 12 entities signed up this summer.
In a May 3 presentation to the Castle Pines City Council, Gray said the collaborative would contract with a company to conduct research and marketing. It would also talk to large companies about the benefits of locating in the county.
"If they could talk to 10-12 companies per year, I think that would be a great success," Gray said. "We're looking for swings at the plate, not the home runs," initially.