EDP, Chamber, MCTA discuss overlap

Mission statements

• EDP: "To improve the business and economic climate of Craig and Moffat county through the recruitment of new 'primary job' businesses and the expansion of existing businesses through a partnership of business, community institutions and citizens dedicated to enhancing the quality of life."

• MCTA: "MCTA exists to develop and promote tourism for the residents, businesses and visitors of Moffat County to achieve economic stability and the ensure quality of life."

• COC: "The Craig Chamber of Commerce's mission is to build a strong economic environment and contribute to business success by:

- supporting aggressive economic and tourism development programs;

- providing quality membership services;

- and supporting public policy issues which create a viable business community."

Are stores left out?

Chamber Executive Director Christina Currie and EDP Chairperson Scott Cook addressed a local retail business complaint that no one is doing enough to bring them customers as part of Thursday's meeting at the Colorado Northwestern Community College.

"The chamber will provide whatever help it can, host seminars, consult with businesses, to help (retail stores). We will treat every member the same," Currie said. "But they need to be there at 1 in the afternoon, need to have their store clean, their windows clean and provide exemplary customer service."

Cook agreed, and said that as a business owner, he always believed he assumed responsibility.

"Ultimately, we can do lots of things, but local business is going to fail or succeed based on how they run themselves," he said.

— The heads of Economic Development Partnership, Craig Chamber of Commerce and Moffat County Tourism Association met Thursday at Colorado Northwest Community College to discuss the public perception that the three overlap and work against each other.

"When we're out in public, we need to present a firmer grasp of our different missions," said CNCC Dean Gene Bilodeau, who moderated the meeting. "I hear infringement talk, but I don't see it."

The organizations agreed they have failed to present the public with clear directives, causing public perception to decline.

That perception also extends to local government, Bilodeau said.

"When EDP goes before the city, and the county commissioners are especially concerned, we need to show we have different goals than the other two to get funding."

MCTA Executive Director Shelly Flannery, EDP Chairper-son Scott Cook and Chamber Executive Director Christina Cur-rie brought mission statements for their respective organizations.

The representatives at the meeting said overlap shows areas where organizations can work in tandem and combine resources.

"All of our missions focus on economic stability for the area," Flannery said. "I want to develop Dinosaur National Park and bring a rafting company in. That knits me to EDP, and then that company would become a part of the Chamber.

"Chamber members now need tourism dollars to make their money to be members of the Chamber."

Currie sees an opportunity for the Chamber to link the other two.

"EDP addresses new businesses, and that can help build tourism," she said. "The chamber will help those businesses establish themselves when they get here."

Some raised concern the city is content to rest on its laurels because of a touted economic upswing.

MCTA Vice-Chairperson Tammie Thompson-Booker questioned whether the city remembers a truly disastrous economic turn. Currie recalled when the Empire mine closed and many lost their jobs.

"The coal mine is not here forever. That is not a renewable business," Thompson-Booker said. "If we lose a business like that, it's very hard to replace it. Our current future is very tenuous and hard to forecast."

Thompson-Booker also mentioned some businesses' reluctance to invest in the area.

"Some businesses don't give back," she said. "I give to Craig Sea Sharks because I want them to stay around. I may need that business in the future."

Currie emphasized investing in the area meant not only donating to community programs, but beautification as well. Cook pointed out many businesses had done a great job making their property more attractive, and there still is a lot to do.

"There are things the community needs to do to show visitors and businesses this is a good place to live, that this is a good community to live in," Thompson-Booker said.

All present at the meeting agreed their organizations should become better leaders for the community.

"We need to get more politically active," Cook said. "We shied away from the school bond and the new hospital because they were controversial, but those are things this area needs."

Currie sees that as the way to best affect the community.

"These are groups that in communities have a leadership role," she said. "People don't give that to you unless you step up to the plate."

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