The Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation has worked to build a foundation for future growth through most of 2006.
Information was gathered through a series of studies to determine what the community's various sectors need the most for retention and expansion.
Armed with this information, the PREDC will revisit and refine the Focused Future II plan -- crafting strategies to meet the needs of area businesses.
Barbara Ganz, executive director of the PREDC, and its president, Jan Parsons, recently discussed the work that has been accomplished in the past year.
The Focus Futures II plan was presented to the community in September 2005. The plan, along with the town's Corporate Strategic Plan, presents a view for the future of the Payson area.
Among studies conducted in 2006 are the Building Bridges to Business (B3), Work Force Development and Economic Impacts of Ordinance 695. There are also two additional documents to be released in January -- a study on the retail and hospitality industries and a study of the state of the Rim Country economy.
"They show where we are and what we need," Parsons said.
As the various studies are completed, PREDC and others will revisit the relevant areas of the Focus Future II and refine the broad visions to narrower, measurable steps needed to reach the more immediate goals identified by the business community.
"With B3 it was made clear the biggest challenge facing our business community is the fact it cannot recruit or maintain a qualified and stable work force," Ganz said. "If this challenge can be met, there is a potential for an estimated $24 million in business expansion over the next three years in the area."
A big part of economic development for the area is work force development, Ganz said. A variety of groups have been working for quite a while to address work force needs. In fact, a new nonprofit is organizing for the specific purpose of work force training and placement, she said.
"There are all these groups out there working toward the same goal and now they are all starting to come together," Ganz said.
"We all have to pull together to make (good things) happen," Parsons said. "We have a broad strategy plan (with the FF2) in place that's been very positive and progressive. And we have two board members who are also members of the chamber board and that has helped us develop a positive and cooperative relationship with the chamber."
All Rim Country residents with an interest in supporting the work of the PREDC in business attraction, retention, expansion and work force development have a standing open invitation to join the PREDC, Ganz said.
Dues are $99 per year and go toward the organization's projects and research. Dues are tax-deductible. Public programs are designed to keep the public informed and up to date on trends in economic development.
The next public program will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, in the community room of the Payson Public Library. The topic is "The State of the Rim Country Economy" with an economist from Compass Bank as the featured speaker.
For more information about the PREDC, call (928) 468-6659.