The Questa Economic Development Fund has set its goals for the new year to further drive economic development in the Questa area. Are you aware of the purpose of the QEDF and what it does? Do you know who the community representatives are, behind the scenes, making decisions? In 2022, there will be many opportunities for community participation—that’s you!—to help QEDF shape its actions, accomplish its goals, and help grow economic development in Questa.
Purpose of the QEDF: Chevron created the QEDF in 2008 prior to the mine closing; it was established in partnership by the Village of Questa and Chevron. QEDF is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation that has been supported by annual funding from Chevron. The QEDF Trust document that established the organization states that its mission is “to support the transition of Questa and the surrounding community to a diversified, sustainable post-mining economy.” How that happens:
- Support and bring new economic development opportunities to Questa
- Promote new businesses, job growth, new investment
- Increase tourism opportunities
- Improve facilities within the Village to help attract economic development
- Support economic diversity consistent with Questa’s history and heritage
The funding: Chevron has provided $320,000 in annual funding to the QEDF for economic development each year since its establishment in 2008. Of that amount, $120,000 is invested in a charitable endowment that can be accessed after Chevron has completed its major remediation and reclamation activities related to the former Questa Mine. $200,00 is immediately available for economic development projects.
Additionally, in 2014 when the mine was closed, Chevron provided $1 million to the endowment and $500,000 for economic planning, including for the Questa Economic Development Plan. Since that time, Chevron provided $500,000 for the Questa Business Park and $100,000 for the Questa Lodging Projects (both QEDF supported projects) in addition to supplemental funding for tourism and agriculture promotion.
QEDF leadership: QEDF is governed by an appointed, unpaid board of directors made up of five voting members, plus a non-voting Chevron representative and board trustee. The director, Lynn Skall, is a paid contractor and non-voting participant who oversees the day-to-day operations of the QEDF. The Board of Directors meets once a month to review financials and projects of the QEDF.
2022 QEDF Goals: In late October 2021, the board of directors, along with representatives from the Village of Questa, held a full-day planning retreat to map out strategic priorities for the next 12 to 24 months for the Questa community. The day was facilitated by Louis Jeantete, CEO of Turquoise Door Consulting of Taos, who did an exceptional job keeping the group on task and accomplishing all objectives set out for the day.
The 2022 goals and key areas of focus for economic development:
Business Park Recruitment: Develop and promote a Business Recruitment Tool Kit and New Business Checklist, identifying incentives and benefits to attract new businesses
Lodger’s Tax Assessment/Ordinance: Research and draft a Lodger’s Tax Business Plan with community input to guide a proposal for a Village Ordinance
Outdoor Recreation Development: Using the Questa Recreation Assessment Report, garner community input to prioritize recreation projects for development; seek grant funding
Water Rights Transfer Policy Change/Agricultural Co-op: Advocate legislators to change water rights transfer policies so new agricultural opportunities and a Ag co-op can be established
La Cienega Multi-Purpose Building Project: Chevron and the Village of Questa will partner to commission a structural and architectural building assessment to guide development
Business Center/Maker Space/Co-Op Market; Building Acquisition: Community input will determine needs for a shared space/market; assess feasibility; develop a business plan; explore a building purchase.
For more information about QEDF, the 2022 goals, and how you can get involved, please contact Lynn Skall at (575) 586-2149 or firstname.lastname@example.org; your participation in QEDF is encouraged and welcome!