By Leah Johnson, Loveland City Council

Government policy has always had a significant influence on economic growth and new business formation. City government has the unique ability to leverage dollars to attract new businesses and create well-paying jobs in the community.

There are a variety of methods for doing so—though the effectiveness of some is debated—but the reality is, every community around Loveland is offering significant incentives to bring in new businesses that can generate sales tax and/or new jobs. If we want to be competitive in Northern Colorado and across the state, we need to continue to offer our own incentives.

Luckily for Loveland, we are a unique community that boasts world-class art, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a climate that supports growth and investment. The 5-year economic development strategic plan we released this year recognizes these strengths, while offering a more proactive approach to incentivize and support new business.

If we want to continue to attract workforce 2.0, we need to be actively figuring out how we are creating good, high-paying jobs. Northern Colorado and Loveland may have a low unemployment rate, but we have a very high underemployment rate—we should be creating employment opportunities that match our highly-educated workforce. As the cost-of-living in Northern Colorado continues to rise, we need to attract jobs that pay living wages so people can afford to live in our community. Policy plays a huge role in reaching that goal.

The strategic plan outlines how businesses and the community can work together towards shared interests, with the help of open communication between the two sectors. When an effective model for interaction is in place, collaboration between cities and businesses can yield powerful economic results.

Good economic policy allows for infrastructure improvements that will pay off for the community even if the business doesn’t stay or isn’t successful. A great example of this is the recent deal made with LPR Construction for the county’s downtown Loveland building. With this partnership, both the business and the city—and the community as a whole—come out on top.

The Loveland Business Partnership plays a crucial role in this mix of public and private interests. They advocate on behalf of the business community while prioritizing the health of the city as a whole, and have already played an instrumental role in several deals that benefited the entire community. The City of Loveland and the Loveland Business Partnership are proud to be working together and looking toward a collaborative and successful future.