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Next Step to Build a Local Creative District Underway

Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Named as Host Communities by the International Economic Development Council

GSI, in partnership with the Coeur d’Alene EDC, has been selected by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as a host organization for the inaugural Economic Recovery Corps (ERC) cohort initiative to establish Certified Creative Districts in the Spokane / Coeur d’Alene region. Dedicated ERC Fellow, Darya Pilram, will manage the transformative project: Mountain NW Creative District Certification and work with community partners to identify locations for the Creative Districts, secure funding, and establish a sustainable path for the ongoing success of the Districts. This project will provide a dedicated platform to nurture and showcase the region’s thriving creative industries.

Building a creative district in the Spokane region is one of GSI’s key strategies to improve the economic vitality of the region. It’s one of many in the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) known as THRIVE Spokane. Growing the region’s creative economy will help create vibrant and inclusive communities and will directly contribute to the rise of the innovation ecosystem. This falls under the goal area for the CEDS centered around the concept of Connectivity. This concept encompasses investments needed to grow the region’s creative economy, improve communication channels, and support physical infrastructure development. This work lays the groundwork to support other aspects of economic development, including fostering resilient economic growth and developing a strong quality of place. Partner organizations such as Terrain, Spokane Arts, and others will be pivotal in the planning and development of the Creative Districts.

GSI, with the Coeur d’Alene EDC is one of 65 host communities throughout the country to be selected as a host site. The program was launched in 2023 through a $30 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and authorized under the CARES Act to address long-standing economic issues in America that surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for historically underserved populations and communities. The program will help activate regional economic development strategies and promote innovation and knowledge-sharing between urban, rural, and tribal areas across the U.S. to elevate new practices and transform the field of economic development. Building Creative Districts are critical to long-term economic well-being by serving as hubs of innovation, culture, and entrepreneurship and will generate jobs, attract tourists, and nurture a diverse cultural scene, advancing regional economic development strategies. The ERC Fellow will conduct extensive research, advocate for the districts, explore funding opportunities, and enhance the capacity of the creative sector. They will also monitor and assess the economic impact of the districts. The outcome will be the establishment of vibrant creative districts that boost economic growth and cultural tourism. The impact of this project will be significant in the Inland Northwest, benefitting artists, makers, culture creators, and the broader community in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

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