The Red Lodge Area Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is offering a prize for the best concept representing the Red Lodge community.
“If you are somewhere else, how do you describe Red Lodge?” Steve Mikels, EDC President, posed the question. “What do you think of when I name the following communities in one word?,” he asked. “Sturgis-motorcycles; Taos-art; Sedona-New Age. You get the idea.” The EDC wants a slogan, a brand, that captures the town and all the community has to offer.
“If we don’t pick it, it will be imposed upon us. Look at Sidney/Minot with the Bakken boom. They may not have the identity they wanted.”
“If you want to economically develop, then the key to that process is having that right image. If you’re talking to a corporation or a young entrepreneur who wants to relocate and he has a business that can be done anywhere-an IT, a clean business employing people, how do you attract him?” he asks.
He looks at the history of Red Lodge. “Each year it is full of hopes: I hope the pass opens early; I hope the highway construction ends; I hope there is no fire; I hope there is enough rain or snow; I hope the economy improves.” Too many variables, he ponders.
He sees successful communities like Boulder made improvements that welcomed businesses. “You need clean and well maintained streets, etc.; you invest in the city. Then businesses will invest in you.”
He believes now is the time to develop a stable plan. He said the planning board is creating a new growth plan to present to the city. The city will come up with new zoning regulations. Will they be business friendly? Will they start to encourage positive growth and planned growth for the community or create barriers? Now, he says, is the time to consider the future and be practical.
“With all the information we will create a package that we can present to interested businesses so they can understand the relocation process. Now, it’s like a maze. We’re looking for a practical application process. A public service, which is what the city government is, should ask, ‘How can I help you? How can I make this work for you?’”