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Economic Development in Enchanted Land

Posted By Heather E. McNelis, Monday, March 10, 2014

Written by Sabrena Suite-Mangum

When you’re dealing with a state that’s the fifth largest in the union, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the economic development challenges are (like the state itself) diverse and vast. But for Enchantment Land CDC, they see their service area as an opportunity for helping small business grow where it might seem impossible, and very improbable, for others.

 

 “We belong to 12 different economic development organizations,” Ron Brown, Executive Director for ELCDC explains. And it’s not that he’s boasting. It’s just a good representation of the economic landscape they’re dealing with. From the Rio Grande corridor with research and metropolitan hubs like Albuquerque and El Paso, to North Central New Mexico’s tourist and recreational delights in in Taos and Angel Fire, there’s diversity. Add in the (oil and natural gas i.e.“fracking”) economic boom of West Texas and the Southeast sector of New Mexico and the plot thickens. Even when you add the rural and small town landscapes that make up most of ELCDC’s servicing area, it’s just the tip of the iceberg for a CDC whose challenges are diverse and expansive as the landscape.

 

Brown says that when it comes to economic development, getting loans in these small rural areas is “just the right thing to do.” They spend plenty of time on the road getting things taken care of, but ELCDC says their objective is one in the same as the REAL 504 program: “to be the financing economic development arm for our entire servicing area.”

 

Meeting this mission is not always easy, but is definitely worth it. For instance, in Velarde, New Mexico (population of 502 at the 2010 census) ELCDC helped to provide financing to convert a mica processing facility for FLUTe, or “Flexible Liner Underground Technologies, LLC.” FLUTe makes liners for wells can be used to detect types of intrusions and impurities in wells, and are used in more than 20 countries spanning the globe. It’s a product that not only has international outreach, but global implications.

 

From structures to the sublime, ELCDC helped fund an expansion for the Abiquiu Inn (pronounced A-bih-kyoo), a 40-room hotel adjacent to artist George O’Keefe Studio and Resource Center. The inn space includes the eclectic Café Abiquiu for local beers, wines & nouveau Northern New Mexico dishes. The IniGaleria Arriba for exhibitions, meetings and social events; as well as AZUL Gift Store for local and North American clothing, jewelry, art and gifts. The commercial scale restrooms that ELCDC helped fund with Abiquiu’s expansion now enables the joint to accommodate large tourist buses in addition to the steady stream of tourist traffic. Brown says it’s something that wouldn’t be possible for a regular bank to handle.

 

Like a Georgia O’Keefe painting, that is the beauty of the process and the REAL 504 program. Check out more of CDC’s featured businesses at www.elcdc.com, and learn more about what the REAL504 program is doing for economic development and outreach across the country at www.nadco.org

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