The Economic Development Expo is planned for Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Wild Animal Sanctuary, 1946 County Road 53 in Keenesburg.

If you are interested, please let us know.  We would be happy to add your name to the RSVP list.

Acklam, Inc. is proud to be a part of this project along with the South East Weld County Chamber of Commerce and the I-76 Economic Development Initiative.

Officials plan expo on I-76 corridor growth

Fort Lupton could see increased activity

By Tony White, Fort Lupton Press  www.ftluptonpress.com

Officials at the Southeast Weld County Chamber of Commerce are planning a business expo about 15 miles east of Fort Lupton to discuss development opportunities along the Interstate 76 corridor.

The Economic Development Expo is planned for Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Wild Animal Sanctuary, 1946 County Road 53 in Keenesburg. Organizers plan to send out about a thousand invitations to area businesses and others who might benefit.

Many in the group also are affiliated with the I-76 Economic Development Initiative, which was formed in October.

“There is a lot of opportunity here, and our primary goal is to get people talking to each other,” said Dan Hamsmith, for the I-76 group and director of economic development in Hudson.

Holding a business expo is a “proactive approach,” to growth, rather than responding to it after the fact, Hamsmith said.

“This is a viable area for economic and residential growth. You can get some pretty cheap land out here compared to Denver,” Hamsmith said.

A new, 48,000-square-foot “welcome center” at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg will play host to the expo event. The new venue and general growth in his operation since 1980,when it opened, shows the area’s development potential, said Pat Craig, founder of the sanctuary.

There has been steady commercial growth around Keenesburg for  years, but there also has been an absence in infrastructure, he said.

“We have all these people who are trying to start a business,” Craig said. “They need some space, and there just isn’t any. So, there is a definite need there.”

Affordable commercial space and attractive business opportunities are precisely what the I-76 corridor provides, said Mark Kinnear, president of the Southeast Weld County Chamber of Commerce.

“There is a need out here. If you build out here, you’ll already have customers before you put the final coat of paint on,” Kinnear said.

Projected economic growth along I-76 will have a positive influence on communities throughout the area, such as Fort Lupton, Kinnear said. He pointed to the positive economic impact the growing towns of Dacono, Frederick and Firestone have had along the Interstate 25 corridor, for example.

“To say it wouldn’t happen along Colo. Hwy. 52 would be counterintuitive to what we are talking about on the I-76 corridor,” Kinnear said. “You would have to believe that as things develop, it spreads out.”

A regional approach rather than a localized focus will benefit a larger amount of people, Kinnear said.

About 25 industry consultants will be at the expo to answer questions on financing, utilities, surveying and insurance among other issues. While the September expo is planned to be an invite-only gathering, future I-76 Economic Development Initiative events are expected to be open to the public.

“We are are on the cusp of a really good shift. I think in the next year or two, there’s probably going to be a lot of proposed growth,” Craig said.

Expo on I-76 Corridor Growth, September 22nd