Larry Hall Appointed New Director of Southern Idaho Rural Development
Twin Falls, ID
While rural communities may be growing crops, a new ally may help them grow business.
In an effort to help rural Twin Falls County communities with business expansion, relocations and new business development, Southern Idaho Rural Development announced the hiring of Larry Hall as director of the new program.
Hall will work with the seven rural communities in Twin Falls County — excluding the city of Twin Falls — to establish economic development opportunities using the tool of urban renewal agencies, according to a release from the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization, a private, non-profit group that markets south-central Idaho to new or expanding businesses. While urban renewal agencies are being developed, projects will be identified that could draw new businesses, expand local business and build jobs.
Hall now serves as a board member of the city of Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency, and will work out of the Twin Falls offices of the Region IV Development Association.
“Most of our rural communities don’t have the means to hire their own economic development person,” Hall said. “In this new position, I look forward to utilizing my skills to help each of them grow business and add jobs in their communities.”
“There has been an interest to support economic development in our rural communities for several years, but the funding just wasn’t there,” said Joe Herring, president of Region IV.“Thanks to Twin Falls County who submitted the grant to the Idaho Department of Commerce and to supporting groups, the Southern Idaho Rural Development program was established. This is just another valuable economic development effort in our region that will focus on rural communities, which we’ve never done before. We’re thrilled to have Larry Hall oversee this effort,” he said.
“This new position will be vital to the business and employment growth of our many rural communities,” said Jan Rogers, executive director of Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization. “Larry is the ideal person to develop, implement and coordinate business development programs in these smaller communities. I look forward to working with him.”
The Times-News asked Larry Hall questions about his job and what he hopes to accomplish.
Q. What does Southern Idaho Rural Development plan to accomplish?
A. SIRD is about getting all of the rural communities into potential economic development. We know that there are opportunities for economic development that are not being “shepherded” to fruition. SIRD is to build capacity and confidence within rural Twin Falls County to pursue economic development activities.This can range from installing pro-business attitudes, to marketing a property, to arranging financing, to getting in necessary infrastructure to facilitate economic growth.
Q. How will Southern Idaho Rural Development know if it is making progress?
A. Each community will have its own projects, timeliness, budgets and roadblocks.Success will primarily be reported through the media and other community channels.At a minimum, we will prepare monthly progress reports required by the Department of Commerce that will be shared with our partners. New economic activity will be happening.
Q. What will the organization’s structure be like?
A. SIRD is a new program of Region IV Development. SIRD goals and activities will be assisted by a volunteer board comprised of community partners and private sector representatives.
Q. How will it work with other economic development groups?
A. SIRD is a collaborative partnership working in full cooperation with everyone – this is how we work and the only way to be really successful.
Q. Tell us a little about your background and why you are well-suited to direct SIRD.
A. My career encompasses over 30 years of corporate finance, project management, private business ownership and banking. I am also board member for the Urban Renewal Agency of Twin Falls which has provided me with great information and insight.
Q. How will the board members be chosen?
A. Since the grant from commerce is to Twin Falls County, and Region IV Development is responsible for operating the program, County Commission Chair George Urie and RIVDA President Joe Herring are recruiting board members.
Q. Will the grant eventually expire?
A. This Idaho Department of Commerce grant program has been operating for over nine years. The grant funds a one-year program and is expected to be renewed based on our successes. We anticipate that the funding from Commerce will cease at some point three to five years out.
Q. If so, how will SIRD obtain financing?
A. For 2010, funding has been provided by a grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce, along with funds from Twin Falls County, Business Plus, Region IV and the rural communities that will benefit from this effort. The intent of the Department of Commerce is that the program will be successful and that local funds will replace the commerce funding in the future.
Q. What are the differences between economic development for rural versus urban?
A. Drawing business to a rural community builds tax revenues and potential income for area businesses. Bringing new economic development opportunities to the rural communities will help them revitalize and rebuild their communities.For the city of Twin Falls, economic development will happen without any additional economic development efforts.The city of Twin Falls, its Urban Renewal Agency, CSI, Region IV, and SIEDO all contribute.This is not true in our rural areas.
Q. What is the advantage/disadvantage of drawing business to a rural setting?
A. Luring a new business to an area requires the right fit of an available work force, the right property, transportation access, community, schools, recreation, etc.The advantages or disadvantages are based upon the desires of a business wishing to relocate to the Magic Valley.A successful rural business is either a destination point or does not rely on heavy customer traffic for success. The Internet has changed where successful business can be located -in Internet-based business can locate where they would like to or can afford to live.