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Input wanted on economic development plan

Development groups and their partners in Yakima and Kittitas counties are building a new regional plan to strengthen the Central Washington economy and have invited the public to review ideas at several forums.

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 7 p.m., a Spanish-language comprehensive economic development strategy forum will be held in Sunnyside at the Migrant Council building at 105 S. Sixth Street. English-language interpreters will be on-site for those who do not speak Spanish.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 6 to 7 p.m., an English-language comprehensive economic development strategy forum will be held in Grandview at the YVCC Workforce Education Center, Room 170, at 114 Grandridge Rd. Spanish-language interpreters will be at the meeting for non-English speaking people.

This initiative was formally kicked off in October with the announcement of the forums, which are designed to help shape the plan and its strategies.

"We felt it would be beneficial to work on a larger regional plan because the two counties have a lot of common interests and opportunities," said David McFadden, president of the Yakima County Development Association.

Over the last five months a volunteer steering committee has slowly but surely developed initial pieces of the plan.

"We have made some progress," said Kitty Wallace, a steering committee member and broker at Windemere Realty in Cle Elum. "At this point though, we need to share our findings and thoughts with the public and let them shape the plan's specific goals and strategies."

Comments and suggestions made at forums will be incorporated into the comprehensive plan.

People can also participate in a short online survey regarding the plan by visiting www.tinyurl.com/9eapn4o.

Planning documents can also be found at www.ycda.com or www.kittitascountychamber.com.

Other forums have already been held in Yakima, Ellensburg and Toppenish. A forum in Cle Elum is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 6 to 7 p.m. at City Hall at 119 W. 1st Street.

The regional plan will ultimately contain an analysis of the regional economy, an action plan and a listing of specific projects that could stimulate private investment and job creation.

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