Fed and state grants fund plan for green business park

(10-08-2013)

Adams State University Community Partnerships and SEED Park, International, received grants to develop detailed plans for a green business park, according to Mary Hoffman, Executive Director of Community Partnerships. She said a two-year grant of $199,765 from the Economic Development Administration is being matched by $115,585 from the State of Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Additional in-kind contributions bring the project total to $399,530.

The EDA was specifically seeking innovative projects with far-reaching potential, Hoffman said, and the SEED (Sustainable Environmental Economic Development) project will serve as a national model for clean, rural business development. The project will produce a business plan for a SEED Park that includes a financial development plan, operational policies, and land-use plan. It can be viewed as a modified business incubator focusing on green values, Hoffman said.

In-kind contributions include pro bono legal assistance from SEED board member Gordon Bosa, as well as a land use design to be created through Colorado State University's Landscape Architecture program.

SEED Park International is a non-profit organization working to develop a sustainable business park where businesses share resources and use each other's bi-products in order to achieve zero waste, create jobs, and reduce costs. For example, a biofuels business could produce heat for the complex and a food dehydration enterprise, as well as wood waste that could be used for composting.

"This project was built around countless prior individual and organizational contributions," Hoffman said, explaining the SEED concept started in 2006 with San Luis Valley Development Resources Group (DRG), USDA Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), and Adams State's Community Partnerships.

She said the DRG's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) showed a local desire to develop clean industries that preserve the area's natural resources and agriculture. The SEED project is a result of collaboration among economic development organizations, business people, farmers and ranchers, and higher education institutions.

"EDA emphasized creating links beyond the region to areas with a better economic base. We could not have gotten this EDA financial award if it wasn't for the State of Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade's Advanced Industry Infrastructure program," Hoffman added. "The whole SEED team represents every single background we need to make this successful. I am looking forward to working with them, DRG, and other partners."

The SEED Board of Directors includes:

  • James Mietz, President: retired from USDA as Coordinator of San Luis Valley Resource Conservation and Development with 33 years of total service
  • Nick Parker, PhD., Vice President: primary interests are rural economic development, integrated-agricultural systems, value-added products and renewable energy
  • Roger Doane, Secretary and Treasurer: the former president of the Monte Vista Production Credit Association, with 30 years in the production credit industry
  • Erwin Young, board member: background in engineering, physics and manufacturing; his business focus has been the application of renewable energy, including solar, geothermal and biomass
  • Dean Nelson, board member: president of Clear Creek Media with a wealth of experience in telecommunications, broadcasting, and data management 
  • Gordon Bosa, board member: attorney a wealth of experience in business organization and water rights 
  • John Bricker, board member: Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) with 40 years in the Insurance and Financial Service Industry; owner of the Three Barrel Brewing Co.
  • Noel Dunne, board member, co-founder of the San Luis Valley Immigration Resource Center; formerly a missioner/community organizer in Santiago, Chile, and Lima, Peru, facilitating small cooperative businesses in barrios

By Julie Waechter