FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2022
ELKO, Nev. – The Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority (NNRDA) has been notified by Alejandra Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, that Lander, Eureka, Elko, and White Pine Counties have been designated as the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) newest Economic Development District (EDD).
EDDs are multi-jurisdictional entities, commonly composed of multiple counties that help lead the locally based, regionally driven economic development planning process through participation and involvement of the public, private, and non-profit sectors to establish a strategic blueprint for regional collaboration. Aside from planning, the designation enhances a region’s ability to secure funding from the EDA for various public works and infrastructure related projects.
“We began this process back in 2019 with the development of a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which to our knowledge was the first to be completed in Northeastern Nevada,” said NNRDA Board Chair, Terri Clark. “The CEDS”, according to Clark, “was the first requirement necessary to apply for the EDA designation. It was a major undertaking, but Mr. Mudd, his staff, and our board jumped in.”
The designation process became a three-year effort thanks to disturbances associated with COVID-19. “COVID was not even on our mind when this concept first came to the NNRDA board,” Clark said. “There was a lot of discussion as to whether this effort would be worth the time and resources required to pursue it as our communities have historically struggled to secure grant funding due to our higher median incomes.”
After some deliberation, the NNRDA board referenced the 2017 flooding that eventually deemed parts of Northeastern Nevada a disaster area and qualified them for funding that had not previously been made available. “We came to the conclusion,” Clark explained, “that we didn’t know what the future may hold, so we should prepare for potential emergencies. Little did we know that by March of 2020, all of Nevada would be in a state of emergency.”
After a year of workshops and planning, the NNRDA working with the University of Nevada Reno College of Business, completed a total of seven county and community CEDS documents along with a 165-page collective regional document. In October of 2020, the NNRDA submitted the application along with supporting documentation to the EDA for review and approval. According to NNRDA Executive Director, Sheldon Mudd, COVID appeared to play a major role in delaying the EDA’s approval.
“We expected approval in February or March of 2021 at the latest and we did everything we could to try and fast track this effort,” Mudd said. “We were pleased that our new CEDS would open up funding opportunities for our communities, but we didn’t want to miss out on anything that could be provided through the EDD.”
Regardless of the 15-month wait, Mudd stated that he doesn’t believe that any Northeastern Nevada communities missed out on any major funding opportunities. “Or at least, I hope not.” he quipped.
According to Mudd, the collaborative effort put forth by individuals and organizations at the community, regional, state, and federal levels in support of this initiative was outstanding. Citizens within various communities participated, often for several hours and into the evening, in workshops in order to provide insights and information. City Councils and County Commissions provided letters of support towards the initiative.
Director, Michael Brown, Deputy Director Bob Potts, and former Rural Director, Patty Herzog of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) provided routine aid and assistance, and “more than anyone,” according to Mudd, “Dr. Fred Steinmann of the UNR College of Business provided hundreds if not thousands of pages of narrative, data, and information needed to get us to the finish line.” Further, Mudd explained, “Even our Congressional delegation, on both sides of the aisle, jumped in to give us a hand, and for that we are certainly grateful.”
“At the end of the day,” Mudd stated, “we’re simply trying to establish methods by which we can see our hard earned tax dollars returned to the communities where they were generated. If we can do that, then perhaps we can bolster our infrastructure, generate new and diversified economic opportunities, and enhance our overall quality of life in Northeastern Nevada.” The Northeastern Nevada Economic Development District is only the second designated in Nevada and the first ever in Nevada to be formed by a Regional Development Authority (RDA).