Thrive Laramie: A Community and Economic Development Action Strategy for the Next 10 Years
The City of Laramie was interested in refreshing their community economic development strategic action plan as part of their comprehensive plan, last updated in 2009. They wanted a firm that would garner broad public input and consider quality of life amenities like their booming arts and startup scenes in addition to traditional economic development measures like business attraction.
The Laramie community has amazing assets in the beautiful natural surroundings of southeast Wyoming; a vibrant and lively downtown retail, restaurant, brewery, and coffee scene; its celebration of diversity and inclusion; and the University of Wyoming's cultural, academic, and athletic attractions. Laramie was challenged with figuring out how to retain college grads and young professionals, improve the aesthetics and quality of life in the community, capitalize on the growth of nearby Fort Collins and Cheyenne while not overtaxing infrastructure, and prepare to take advantage of emerging industries.
Our team engaged a 25-member steering committee of community, business, education, and government leaders, held 12 build sessions with input from 122 local stakeholders, and received nearly 700 completed community surveys from residents and visitors. We launched a broad communications strategy to solicit public input, which included leveraging social media, live-streaming meetings, and attending community events.
We researched regional and national economic trends to identify emerging industries that will power Laramie's future, and matched those to occupational and educational data to ensure the local community is prepared to take advantage of and prosper from these opportunities.
Through interviews, our community engagement, and with the guidance of our steering committee and subject-matter co-chairs, we were able to design strategies and recommendations that built on Laramie's strengths while positioning the region to drive economic development by attracting new businesses, people, and visitors to the region and state.
The final plan will be voted for adoption by both the City Council and Planning Commission in February of 2020. The recommendations in the plan have action steps, lead organizations, and additional partners that will be critical for implementation. The community will form an Implementation Committee to help support and account for progress made toward the goals outlined in the 10-year plan, updating metrics, goals, and tactics as needed as time progresses. While the COVID-19 crisis has delayed some of the investments as recently as May of this year they are still committed to advancing all of the recommendations.
Economic Development Plan