With the Sheerness Power Plant slated to switch to natural gas and the coal mine across the highway to close, Hanna is looking for solutions to produce a diversified economy.
"With coal transition comes many different aspects," explained Trisha Sewel, Economic Development Officer for Cactus Corridor Economic Development Corporation. "Everything from mitigating impacts to looking at all the economic opportunities there for us. In identifying those things we've realized there are some gaps and we need to make sure we fill them."
The town has two ideas to get themselves back on track. The first is a business ecosystem that allows entrepreneurs to look at taking risks or letting their idea grow some wings.
"We actually did business conversation with various businesses in Hanna on July 17," shared Sewell. "And then July 26, we actually did a focus group with businesses as well. What we've been gaining from them is what exactly do they feel are some barriers or what we can do better."
She said they discussed ideas to encourage these businesses to keep operating, the potential of expanding or even the start up of a new idea.
The second aspect Cactus Corridor is looking at is the social impact of the coal transition.
"We need to start looking at a position that would kind of focus on being the hub or connector on how to assure these social issues are addressed as we go through this transition," said Sewell. "Basically, so no one falls through the cracks and everybody stays in a good healthy state and gets the support they need."
Cactus Corridor recently implemented the Livestock Hub, a service based on complimentary use for such things as veterinary care, nutrition, equine therapy etc. Sewell said members of the community are actively looking for ways to bring these services into one convenient package.