By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS
Imagine Quay County a thriving hub of successful business, new high-paying jobs and a fully stocked 650-acre industrial park.
Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp’s Pete Kampfer has that vision. But he also knows the adage says it takes money to make money.
Thus he was on hand at a special City Commission meeting on Thursday to outline the growth he envisions for the area — and to ask for the funds to achieve the goals.
After a detailed presentation, city commissioners unanimously approved the $75,000 requested by Kampfer for development goals in the industrial park area. The requested money, he stressed, would come from economic development taxes and not some other coffer.
Some lofty aims, like creating 3,000 new primary industry jobs by 2025, topped Kampfer’s list of ongoing issues.
GTEDC’s wish list, Kampfer said, would be to create 500 more usable acres in industrial park, an aggressive incentives program, expansion of marketing efforts and expanding the scope of Mesalands Community College as its use as an economic development engine.
He said he already works in close harmony with David Buchen of Mesalands Small Business Development Center.
Kampfer said tax incentives and reducing the cost of doing business in the area are what works for retaining and attracting new businesses.
He also mentioned recruitment is costly and suffers in the marketing and mailing department as he is only allotted $1,900 per year for that purpose, which barely covers the costs of brochures, letterhead and postage for seductive mailings.
Attraction can also come from a spruced up community, Kampfer said, which has been helped along with code enforcement. He said ticketing yards overgrown with weeds, neglect and debris has helped clean up the city.
City commissioners commended Kampfer on his assistance thus far and inquired about ongoing projects that had been brought up in the past.
The long-discussed ethanol plant will be a Quay reality,
Kampfer said, bringing 30 new primary industry jobs to the area.
Kampfer also said the old railroad station renovation remains one of GTEDC’s main priorities. He said the plan of action has been completed and he’ll soon offer a presentation.
He also said GTEDC is working on various concerns regarding Highway 54 and setting up an emergency response program to assist businesses that are in danger, like the recently shut down Laurel Hills Nursing Home.
“This way things like that don’t just pass us by,” he said, adding GTEDC, again working in conjunction with the colleges small-business development center, could help save businesses if it were for the community’s good.
As for deals under negotiation, Kampfer said some fish are nibbling — like a new business he said is eyeing Tucumcari’s industrial park.
“It’s not for sure,” Kampfer said. “We’ve been asked to retain a degree of confidentiality. But it’s something that comes from the state to us. It’s not me just throwing wonderful possibilities and sunshine in the air.”
Kampfer also said he was in negotiations with another firm to help solve the community’s concern about Five Mile Park.
He said a potential long-term lease is being discussed with a firm that would develop a retirement community in the park area.
“They would keep the historical building (bath house), improve it, and put in whatever kind of park would work for a retirement community,” he said.
Kampfer added more than 40 acres would be dedicated to a park but, “They probably would not want a swimming pool.”
He said another project in the works was the possibility of developing three city blocks near the school so more people could come live in the area.
“We are very short on homes and available property,” Kampfer said.
Kampfer also stressed something communities can work on to attract and keep businesses around can come essentially free of cost.
A large slide in his presentation proclaimed: “Aside from market conditions, the most frequent reason a company leaves one area and moves to another is local community attitude.”
Tax funding approved by city for economic development
Current project consulting fees $25,000
Industrial park engineering fees $25,000
Business start-up expenses $25,000
Economic development plan
Retain existing industry