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Planning Consultant Services, Regional Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)



Planning Consultant Services

Regional Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)

Request for Proposals



The partnership of the four economic development organizations located in southwest Washington is seeking an up to 8 month contract with a consultant to coordinate and assist in the creation of a regional CEDS economic development planning document. The partnership, hereafter referred to as The Partners, is comprised of the following organizations: Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. (representing Grays Harbor County), Mason Economic Development Council (representing Mason County), Pacific Economic Development Council (representing Pacific County), Thurston Economic Development Council (representing Thurston County). The resulting document will form the basis of a completed application to the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) that will allow for the formation of a four-county economic development district (EDD).


The counties of Grays Harbor, Mason, and Pacific had operated as an economic development district until approximately 2015 – known as ColPac EDD. At that time, the organization chose to disband and resultantly has not been recognized as a District by the EDA. Each of the counties has since that time pursued planning efforts that, while supportive of their respective counties, were not coordinated with each other in any format. Thurston County has never been organized under the auspices of an EDD.

The four counties have a strong and lengthy history of developing joint economic development and community development efforts. Each of The Partners are recognized by their county administration and the Washington State Department of Commerce as the lead economic development organization for their county – formally referred to as the Associate Development Organization (ADO) for their respective counties. Additionally, The Partners are members of the Board of Directors of the five county Workforce Development Organization – Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council.

The Partners have cause and reason to reconstitute the defunct ColPac EDD and to engage Thurston County into the yet to be created EDD. Each of The Partners has strong board representation from both the private and public sectors. Resultantly, The Partners have access to community planning and prioritization from the municipalities, tribes, special purpose districts and ports. Each of the partners has endeavored on this project with full acknowledgement from their local leadership to pursue the reconstitution of ColPac with the inclusion of Thurston County.

The Thurston EDC will act as the fiduciary for this project. The funding for this project is via the awarding of a planning grant to the Thurston EDC from the EDA. The Thurston EDC will be responsible for all contracting and will work under that organization’s Board of Directors approved and adopted procurement policies. The organizing memorandum of The Partners identifies and outlines the shared management responsibilities of the four partners thus ensuring an equitable and shared outcome of the project. The Partners have formed a project executive committee and will share and collaborate on all programmatic decisions of the project.

Schedule of RFP Process and Final Project Deadline

Release of Request for Proposals                          January 27, 2023

Proposals Due                                                        February 10, 2023; 3:00 p.m.

Interview with finalist(s) if applicable                  Week of February 13-17, 2023

Anticipated Award Determination                         February 24, 2023

Final project report filed with EDA                       August 1, 2023

Proposals must be submitted by the date and time listed above. Applicants are asked not to contact The Partners but direct all inquiries to Maria Hemmen at the Thurston EDC at 360-754-6320, or Proposals must be emailed as one pdf attachment to Maria Hemmen, Executive Assistant, Thurston Economic Development Council, at

Partner Goals and Work Program

  1. The primary objective and goal is to establish a new CEDS and have cause to create a newly recognized Economic Development District or similarly named economic development district.
    1. The consultant will work with The Partners to fully scope the creation of a four-county wide CEDS document.
    2. The consultant will work with the individual partners and their respective county task forces/working group to create and or re-constitute the former and or existing CEDS document for that county.
      1. Consultant shall work with and in Partner communities to educate, promote and increase positive awareness of the impact of CEDs and a regional EDD.
    3. The consultant will work with The Partners to “stitch” the four individual planning documents into one regional CEDS that is in a format and quality acceptable to the EDA.
      1. Consultant will work with existing economic development plans in each of the Partner communities to ensure that prior work and processes are stabilized and complimented by resulting EDD/CEDS plan.
  2. The consultant will guide and advise The Partners on the correct and successful submittal of the CEDS to the EDA resulting in the creation of a formal Economic Development District constituting the counties of Grays Harbor, Mason, Pacific and Thurston.

It is anticipated that each of The Partners will have base documents from which to create a correct and proper CEDS document. The Partners will work the consultant to ensure that this work is local and community based.

It is the responsibilities of The Fiduciary agent to ensure that all regular reports and invoicing is filed correctly and in a timely manner with the EDA.

Cost Estimate

Respondents, please provide the line item cost of your proposal. The cost proposal should be inclusive of travel/mileage, materials, personnel associated and assigned to the project (please define the work component of each staff member) and final production of documents. Note that the total maximum budget for this part of the project is $80,000.

Payments from the Fiduciary terms will be net 30 days after work is performed and acceptable invoice is received. It is anticipated that monthly invoicing will be acceptable.

This project is made possible by and is funded through a planning grant received from the Economic Development Administration.

Experience and Sought-Materials

Relevant experience is a primary factor in The Partners evaluation of proposals.

Submittals should include:

  1. A demonstrated knowledge of the economy and economic development efforts of the four counties of The Partners. Please include examples of past work similar to this effort. References are encouraged.
  2. A description of philosophy of the critical connections between workforce and economic development and infrastructure resulting in a highly impactful inclusive and equitable regional economy.
  3. A description of prior CEDS work that demonstrates the knowledge of the construction of such a document. Please include samples of successfully working with diverse groups and stakeholders.
  4. A description of a well-functioning and highly effective economic development district that The Partners will model towards in the operation of a successful District.
  5. A timeline of project with benchmark actions and activities that result in meeting the funder’s deadline of 8/1/23.
Closing Date: 
Friday, February 10, 2023
Thurston Economic Development Council
Point of Contact: