Attracting people to city is proposed committee’s goal

By Travis Gulbrandson

The Vermillion City Council has pledged to put one of its members on a committee that aims to attract new residents to town and improve its housing market, as well as other areas of community advancement.

The Integrated Community Advancement Program (ICAP) was one of the recommendations brought by the Workforce Housing Analysis commissioned by the city last year.

Steve Howe, executive director of the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce & Development Company (VCDC), said he would like the committee to consist of people including officials from city and county government, the school district, USD and regular citizens.

“I’m not talking about a huge group, but enough of a representation with which to go through the housing and talent attraction study, go through the recommendations and (choose) which items we can focus on,” he said.

The ICAP itself would be aimed at elevating and integrating community civic program efforts in the areas of economic development, community development and talent attraction, according to last year’s report, which was completed by Community Housing Laboratory of New Mexico.

“The ICAP should serve as the community’s central clearinghouse for prioritizing, planning, managing and measuring of discretionary investment in areas strategic to the advancement of the community,” the report said.

“There are a lot of recommendations in this study, and we need to make some educated decisions on what pieces of it we want to offer,” Howe told the council Monday afternoon.

Mayor Jack Powell said that a committee would be beneficial in outlining what should be the main focuses drawn from the study.

“There’s so much in that study that we need to whittle it down and put some priority on this together so that we don’t just throw a shotgun at it,” he said.

Council member John Grayson agreed, adding, “Let’s pick a few so we can do a few things really well instead of lots of things poorly.”

Howe said he hopes all the committee members will be in place by the end of the month, and it will have a list of recommendations within “a month or two.”

He added that funding eventually will be needed, as well, both in the short- and long-term.

“We think we’ve identified at least in general where we can get some of those funds,” Howe said. “The long-term funding will likely require some allocation of taxpayer dollars.”

No action was taken on the matter, and the committee member representing the city council has not yet been announced.

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