Three Counties Pursue Economic Diversification

Apr 14, 2017

Credit Stephanie Joyce

Gillette and other towns in Northeast Wyoming may be looking to carbon products - goods like water filters and building materials – to stabilize the coal industry.

The New Growth Alliance, which includes Sheridan, Buffalo, and Gillette, is a group focused on economic development in Northeast Wyoming. It recently held a conference to discuss alternative coal markets, and now the communities are combining efforts to recruit other types of businesses, as well.  

Gillette Mayor Louise Carter-King said the three towns are scheduling tours with prospective businesses, and that each community has its own unique assets.

“Each one of our communities has different niches – different amenities that would be attractive to different kinds of businesses,” Carter-King said. “So, even though we could be competing for the same business in some of them, we feel that with our community only being 30,000 and the others being even smaller, that to combine made the most sense.”

Carter-King said her community with its extensive roads and its own electrical utility has a lot to offer companies. She said she sees potential for Gillette to host data centers and a larger regional hospital.

“We have great infrastructure,” Carter-King said. “Everything we have built in about the last ten years has been in anticipation of our community growing to 50,000, and it’s at 30 to 31 [thousand] right now.”

Carter-King said she hopes that the town will get a boost from the upcoming High School Rodeo Finals and from this summer’s eclipse, which will bring tourists to towns across Wyoming.