Economic development forum hopes to improve Portales

Tony Parra

The Portales Roosevelt County Economic Development Forum is only a few days away and Portales officials look forward to the ideas for Portales’ future.
The Forum will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Thursday at Eastern New Mexico University’s Zia room of the Campus Union Building. Eastern New Mexico University president Dr. Steven Gamble will give a short welcome speech and then there will be a lunch buffet from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m.
“The most important thing is to get everyone together and on the same page,” Gamble said. “Portales is a great place to live, but this forum is about making it a better place to live in.”
The university is the largest employer in Portales, according to the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce.
Noreen Scott, Director of Rio Rancho Economic Development Corporation will be the moderator for the event. The corporation began in 1992 and it has launched 50 businesses that currently account for almost 13,00 quality jobs in Rio Rancho, according to www.nmsitesearch.com. The Built-to-Suit, which is the development team for RREDC, accumulated 42 buildings in the last eight years.
“Many good signs of economic growth are occurring throughout the city and county and our region,” Ray Sullivan, publisher of the Portales News-Tribune said. “It has lots of folks asking why, who are left without an answer.”
The RREDC Development team offers research, banking, development, site location, design/build-to-suit. Their service includes financial and incentive deal structuring, grant writing, community and government liaison, regulatory streamlining, relocation services and foreign trade zone services.
There will be a leadership panel from 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m. followed by a brief presentation by Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega.
There will be a round table discussion from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the economic development forum will be concluded with a roundup by Scott.
“I hope a wide variety of people attend,” Gamble said. “People that work for themselves, for government agencies and citizens who want to see the county move forward.”
The city of Portales is currently in the process of searching for a city planner. Ortega has a seven-member committee to help select a city planner who will be in charge of creating a comprehensive plan. Ortega did stress, however, that the development of Rio Rancho and Portales are completely different when it comes to economic development.
“The forum will be used to inform the public,” Ortega said. “I will inform the public on the goals the community has. They (Rio Rancho and Portales) are two different worlds when it comes to economic development.”
The cost is $10 per person and anyone can RSVP by calling the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce at 356-8541 or the Portales News Tribune at 356-4481.
“An old saying goes like this,” Sullivan said. “If you don’t know where you are going, nowhere is where you’ll end up.”