Economic Development: Economic Sustainability. What does that mean? Economic Sustainability is a term that describes the community’s viability now and into the future. Our past helps us understand that we shouldn’t be too dependent on one industry, because when that industry diminishes or goes away, it leaves the community in a difficult situation of high unemployment and a weak financial position for our citizens causing many people to leave and businesses to close. From the difficulties of the 1980’s where the uranium industry began to shrink, we grew into the tourism industry as a way to help solve those problems. As a next step in economic development, the community can welcome other business types to create a stronger foundation and add to what has already been accomplished through the tourism industry.
Economic development and sustainability is such an important aspect of our community. It means more than tourism and hospitality. Although tourism and hospitality are helping our financial situation, it is important to balance that industry with others such as high tech industry, research, higher education (USU Campus) and other supply chain or support industries.
Economic Development planning is necessary to continue to work towards and provide a well rounded, sustainable and healthy community that has a strong foundation of multiple industries that provide financial health in our community and to those who live in Moab. It means having a trained, available work force; trained in the businesses and jobs available in Moab or planned to be available in Moab. It means viable wages for the cost of living in Moab; it means affordable living spaces and providing an attractive community. It means new jobs, new opportunities, new business areas that fit the future that residents want, it means expansion of existing businesses and making land available for new and different business opportunities that want to be in Moab.
There are many people and entities who work on economic development and sustainability in Moab. These entities include Moab City, Grand County, the Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Services, Utah State University, Governors Office of Economic Development (GOED), Utah EDC, Realtors, Small Business Development Center and others including existing businesses within the community.
USU recently sponsored a six-part session in an ASAP (Area Sector Analysis Process) process to survey community members and develop a listing of key areas considered important for the community to develop as business opportunities here. The final session occurred on July 19th. From this process, the City is working with the County and USU to develop the next steps to continue the efforts of economic development for this community.
As the community continues to work on building affordable housing, ensuring available property for new businesses, meeting with existing businesses and looking at training opportunities for employees in Moab, we are anticipating improvement in our community’s sustainability for the future.