During the past several months, a new excitement about Del Norte County's economic prospects has been building. There's a realization that we can create jobs that pay living wages, improve entrepreneurial opportunities for existing and new businesses and increase revenues for local governments so they can better meet community needs from policing to better roads. This is quite a turnaround from the 1990s when local mills closed, commercial fishing declined and hundreds of people left the area for work elsewhere.

There's also a recognition that to grow the economy, local governments must share a vision for the county's future and cooperate to ensure growth occurs.

Because of this, the Crescent City/Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce is asking local institutions to join a three-year initiative that commits the organizations to sharing the same vision for our collective future. Earlier this week, chamber President Chris Howard invited the Crescent City Council to join this effort.

The initiative does come with a money obligation - $40,000 for each of the next three years. Those dollars will go to a variety of programs aimed at building leadership in our community: training local residents to start their own businesses, entrepreneurship development, a speaker series, youth development, providing resource information to the underprivileged, to name just a few.

Those programs would address significant community needs that a group of more than 100 local government, business, civic and youth leaders identified as weaknesses during a two-day meeting in Smith River last month. When asked to score Del Norte County on a list of 10 attributes that make a successful community, a large percentage said we were weak in these areas:

?Investing in the future - 97 percent

?Creatively building new economic opportunities - 89 percent

?Participatory approach to community decision-making - 92 percent

It's time for our local governments, businesses and civic groups to commit to a shared vision that raises the economic prospects of all Del Norte residents. We urge those organizations to join the chamber's three-year initiative.


The Chamber of Commerce has proposed a three-year initiative to develop

community leadership

and entrepreneurship.


Local governments

and institutions should

commit to this effort.


How can leadership skills and entrepreneurship best be developed in the

community? Send a letter via e-mail to: