Community Economic Development Council Aims for a Brighter Future for Carbon County


Press Release

This is the first of a series introducing the Community Economic Development Council, its purpose and the next steps open to all in Carbon County.

The Community Economic Council is a group of private and government resources working toward diversifying and growing economic activities for Carbon County. This mix of parties is driven by the Lewis Young Robertson & Burningham Inc. economic strategic plan commissioned by Carbon County in 2017. All county commissioners, mayors and private business owners participated in this process along with educational resources. The mission of this overall effort is to develop an environment that creates jobs paying a living wage for families of $50,000 per year or more. This is in effort to replace those jobs lost over the last decade and create a sustainable economy. One of their first recommendations was the creation of not only a Community Economic Council, but also a smaller group to serve as “consultants” to the council and associated subcommittees.

Carbon County restructured their economic development group in December of 2017 and Gina Gagon was appointed chair in order to implement the actions recommended by Lewis with the dissolution of economic development at the county level. Part of the suggested organizational structure was the creation of a consulting team. Gina Gagon, along with Angelo Kiahtipes, Frank Peczuh and Carbon County Commissioners, spearheaded the efforts to secure Lewis and have been heavily involved with the process from the beginning and served as the core of the consulting group. Lenise Peterman, Helper City Mayor, was later asked to join the group due to her efforts in Helper and experience in leveraging community involvement and change management. Mike Kourianos, Price City Mayor, is also a member of this smaller consulting team. The purpose of this group is to advise, consult, study and research issues and ideas and assist the subcommittees in their distinct efforts.

The final report from Lewis was presented in May of 2018 during a public meeting hosted at the Carbon County Event Center. At that time, subcommittee sign ups were available after the presentation. The consulting team then went into action to create the sub-committees and secure chairs for those efforts. As the organizational structure has come together and the subcommittee missions more fully established, the Community Economic Council is excited to open a dialogue with the citizens of Carbon County. The Council needs your help, feedback and open communication to help bring about real change in our communities. The work to date has been focused on creating the right mechanism to bring this to the citizens of Carbon County. And we are ready to begin!

“Our goal is to be transparent, to build community consensus about what type of businesses will “fit” who we are in Carbon,” said Gagon. “Now, with the appropriate structure and mission in place, we are excited to share with the community some preliminary thoughts and concepts, to collect feedback and refine these objectives. To be successful in developing an economic development strategy, we need everyone to be involved and committed.”

In closing, the Community Economic Council is focused on creating a diversified economy for all of Carbon County and understands this effort will require teamwork and a united vision to move forward. As this effort matures, the hope is citizens will get involved and help determine a brighter future for Carbon County and create a place our younger generations want to return home and can find meaningful employment to raise their families.

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