By Shari Phiel
The Berthoud Economic Resource Team continues to work on defining Berthoud’s economic future and its own role in that future. At a recent meeting, held at Town Hall on Monday, Nov. 3, the team spent much of the time considering “What do we want Berthoud to be?”
BERT chair Becky Justice Hemmann noted that “every single economic development person that has come into Berthoud to talk to us has said that ‘Until you figure that out, you might as well not go any further.’” Easier said than done.
Berthoud Trustee Jeff Hindman, who was unable to attend the meeting, pointed out in a statement sent to the group that much of Berthoud’s vision has already been defined in the Comprehensive Plan and stressed the importance of following that plan. Hindman noted “there were numerous community meetings attended by hundreds of residents that produced what we ended up with. It was supported by all sides of the growth debate in Berthoud.”
Previously, the team’s mission or vision was to promote a business friendly climate in order to retain and expand existing business while attracting new businesses to Berthoud; and to pursue an aggressive business development posture to recruit new employers to the area.
Some, like Berthoud Trustee Dick Shepard felt this definition was a little too broad and needed further definition or clarification. “I think we could almost put in there exactly what kind of businesses that we’re looking at.”
Businesses or industries the group would most like to see come into the area are those related to or in support of “green” energy. With alternative energy companies like Vestas and environmentally friendly producers like Green Diamond Tire moving into the area, northern Colorado is poised to be at the forefront of green industry.
But not everyone agreed. Some worried that defining what types of businesses or industries Berthoud wanted to attract, would send the wrong message to other equally desirable businesses.
Mayor Tom Patterson was adamantly opposed to limiting or pre-defining what types of buildings, construction materials, architecture or businesses Berthoud wants to attract. “It sucks up the creativity of the individual who gets into the development. The developers are the ones who are the creators on this.”
Gary Maggi of Maggi Town and County Real Estate added, “Some of the best projects that have ever come to Berthoud, the ones that we were the most proud of, sort of grew organically.”
Ultimately, the group decided to leave the mission as a broader, more far reaching statement that encourages all types of business and employers to come to Berthoud. The final statement reads, “Berthoud facilitates partnerships between homes and businesses fueled by existing and emerging industries; we promote leafy trees and green buildings in a healthy blend of hometown atmosphere and cutting edge development.”