Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Funding may help draw, keep businesses

BRIGHAM CITY — With layoffs still heavily outweighing job openings, Box Elder County has been designated as an “area of economic distress” by the federal Economic Development Administration.
As the only such county within an eightstate region, Brigham City Economic Development director Paul Larsen said, Box Elder now has federal funds available to develop a strategic plan to help attract new businesses and retain existing businesses. Larsen made the announcement Friday at an economic summit convened to assess the county’s economic situation and discuss ways to improve it.
Larsen said the EDA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, officially placed this designation on the county after La-Z-Boy laid off more than 600 employees in 2009 and took those jobs to Mexico.
Additional layoffs at ATK and other businesses in the county this year have reinforced the hard times.
Brigham City, Tremonton, Box Elder County and the Bear River Association of Governments will work together to develop several projects throughout the next year. Additional funds will be available from the EDA to put them in place.
At Friday’s summit, Tom Lee, dean of the Utah State University Brigham City Regional Campus and Education Center, announced the addition of a business resource center to the Brigham City campus.
The center will be in what is presently the USU Extension office and will offer assistance to people to turn their business ideas into reality.