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Wendy Reuer, Published October 03 2012

Dalrymple updates 2020 & Beyond plan

FARGO – Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Wednesday unveiled a plan to increase the availability of child care around the state.

Dalrymple said he is recommending the state cover 75 percent of the cost for anyone who wants to build a new child care center or expand a current one.

The state’s 20-year 2020 & Beyond development initiative found that quality day care across the state is a top priority for North Dakotans, Dalrymple said.

He highlighted some of 2020 & Beyond’s main ideas on Wednesday in Fargo. The initiative, launched by Dalrymple and the state Chamber of Commerce in January, has a goal of helping to shape North Dakota’s economic policy.

“It really is a vision for what we want our state to look like in the future,” Dalrymple said.

After nine public meetings in the state’s major cities, residents submitted 1,700 ideas and suggestions to build on the current economy and enhance the quality of life, said Andy Peterson, president of the state Chamber of Commerce.

Along with the child care initiative, Dalrymple outlined two other focuses for the 2020 program that came from resident suggestions: enhancing main streets and using the state’s universities to increase opportunities.

He suggested that a new private-public partnership model be implemented for small- and mid-size businesses.

Instead of the Centers for Excellence program, under the new model – “Research North Dakota” – state assistance for developing new products would be achieved on a project basis. Businesses would no longer be able to offer in-kind matches for state research assistance; investments would be made on a competitive basis.

“We are trying to focus on the entrepreneur spirit of North Dakota,” said Kathy Neset, owner of Neset Consulting and co-chairwoman of the 2020 & Beyond steering committee.

Neset said residents recommended education, housing and enterprise as areas where improvement is needed.

Neset said the 2020 & Beyond committee hopes to eventually make North Dakota No. 1 in the nation in education.

“We are looking ahead to the next 20 years,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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