Center for Regional Studies takes top prize
The University of Nevada, Reno's Center for Regional Studies recently won first place in the Community Development category at the University Economic Development Association's Annual Summit in Portland, Ore.
The Center for Regional Studies, approved by the Board of Regents in June 2007, is an economic development collaboration between the College of Business and the Nevada Small Business Development Center.
The award was given based on maps and analyses of proposed areas to include in the City of Reno's new redevelopment district, Redevelopment District 2, which resulted in the decision by mega-retailer Cabela's to build a site in Northern Nevada.
The estimated economic impact of this decision is as follows: local tourism benefit of $700-$800 million per year; 184 full time and 216 part-time jobs; gross sales in the first year of $55 million, generating $3.6 million in new sales tax revenues.
"We won this award for a project that used geographic information services (GIS), confidentiality data agreements and important datasets produced and maintained by the Center to assist the City of Reno with adopting a second redevelopment district," Project Manager Brian Bonnenfant said. "Data, maps and reports provided to the City of Reno Redevelopment Agency were critical in the approval of the Reno Redevelopment District 2."
The Center provided the Reno Redevelopment Agency with information to demonstrate the need for an additional redevelopment district in the following categories: demographics, firms and employment, retail sales, assessor data, residential construction activity and land assemblage.
"This award highlights one of the many community partnerships of the NSBDC and demonstrates the critical role the University can play in supporting economic development in Nevada and the surrounding region," NSBDC State Director Sam Males said.
"The City of Reno is thrilled the University's Center for Regional Studies has received this honor, Reno Mayor Robert Cashell said. It points out that Reno's redevelopment successes have been the result of careful planning as well as help, support and partnerships from the community particularly the University."
Other finalists for this award included Southeastern Missouri's Small Business Development Center and Auburn University. More than 200 universities were engaged in this competition.
The University of Nevada, Reno Center for Regional Studies, at the Nevada Small Business Center, conducts regional applied research in areas including economics, housing, education, transportation and healthcare.
The Center collects and maintains current and local economic/demographic data and utilizes GIS technology to generate maps and other presentation formats allowing users to understand growth, trends, and patterns with data.
The resulting information, which includes feasibility and impact analyses and maps, assists entities to make educated decisions and plans regarding regional economic and business development.
The Center generates its own revenues and involves the community, University faculty and students.
This program is sustainable and its clients realize benefits in terms of jobs created, jobs saved and new industry.
Impact is also in the form of investment, increased construction, increased valuation, forecasted employment, increased sales and projected tax collections. GIS services have enhanced the Center's clients' capabilities to make business and economic development decisions.