August 7, 2013

Vision West committee looks to move forward

By Michael Johnson, Editor

Oil development in North Dakota has added pressure on at least some parts of McLean County. For the most part, that’s an added income. Other undesirables can come with the economic spur. The Vision West project came to be as a way to find opportunities to capitalize on the growth of oil, while improving the quality of life for those living around the natural resource. In McLean County, a Vision West steering committee, comprised of members from the surrounding communities put in many hours working to prepare for changes that are coming here because of the oil boom. Vision West discussion started in McLean County in June of 2012. The steering committee identified nine economic development initiatives and five quality of life initiatives in January that pertained to all the communities. More recently, they narrowed those down to three initiatives each. The economic development initiatives include: Local and regional tourism, business recruitment and bedroom community development. The quality-of-life initiatives, included traffic and road maintenance as a top priority, followed by housing and daycare. The committee then agreed that moving these projects forward, would take at least a part-time McLean County developer. They brought forth their research, a request for proposals and an estimated budget for a part-time employee to the McLean County Commission last month. Commissioners approved moving forward with the request. The request is open through Aug. 31 to accept proposals from economic development organizations that could contract the services.

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