JOHN DAY – Two local college interns will help the Grant County Economic Council lay the groundwork for a Main Street program, an effort aimed at bolstering business prospects and retention in Grant County.
The internships were arranged through a new partnership between the nonprofit Economic Council and Eastern Oregon University.
The Economic Council plans to hold a community meeting soon to explain the Main Street program, solicit ideas and comments, and introduce the two interns: Kathie Stoddard and Brian Delaney.
The interns will assist the Economic Council by researching local needs, analyzing county economic data, and evaluating commercial property values, conditions and vacancies.
For their efforts, the students will earn course credits and qualify for a partial tuition waiver.
Their work will help the council and its partners craft a Main Street program. In such a program, a community develops a plan to revitalize commercial properties, assist businesses with attracting and retaining customers, and identify new business opportunities.
The Economic Council plans to work closely with other organizations and the City of John Day, which is proceeding with a separate grant-funded effort to rebuild portions of Main Street and Canyon Boulevard.
EOU’s Regional Student Internship Program was developed by the Governor’s Regional Solutions Center and EOU. Officials there and at the university were pleased to launch the partnership.
Chris Cronin, director of EOU’s Grant County center, called it a “win-win for local EOU students and Grant County.
“The students have a chance to extend their learning beyond the classroom and get some great practical experience, and at the same time, engage in project that has the potential to provide significant economic benefit to the community they’ve chosen to live in and raise their families,” Cronin said.
EOU provost Steve Adkison said the joint effort meets EOU’s mission to support and sustain rural communities – and also provides access to faculty and expertise to help meet community needs.
The Oregon Main Street Program is providing technical support to the Grant County effort.Read more on bluemountaineagle.com.