Our View: Piecing the puzzle together
Craig Editorial Board
- Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
- Jennifer L. Grubbs, newspaper representative
- Bridget Manley, newspaper representative
- Allan Reishus, community representative
- Chris Runyan, community representative
- Ken Wergin, community representative
Craig When it comes to Craig's future, many pieces to the puzzle are on the table.
A new hospital is scheduled to be built.
The school system is progressing with upgrades, the biggest of which includes a new middle school.
Colorado Northwest Community College has plans to expand and improve.
The city has an infrastructure in place that can handle new business and residential growth.
New subdivisions are on the horizon.
And there are tax incentive and abatement programs to be found, which can help existing businesses improve while also bringing in new businesses.
Although there still is some debate about the funding for some of the pieces, the fact remains many of the pieces are there.
But the Editorial Board can't help but wonder, how is Craig billing itself to pull the pieces together and create a picture that entices existing businesses to upgrade or new businesses to make Craig home?
How are we marketing Craig? Are we presenting Craig as the next "it" spot for bigger businesses to come and help the area not be so reliant on the energy industry?
As it stands now, the best marketing campaign we have is a bunch of discombobulated brochures.
If a prospective business owner wants to know about property taxes, he or she has to go to one brochure. If the person wants to know about available commercial property, he or she has to find another information source.
Combine this with no marketing campaign to reach out and let people across the state or the country know of the opportunities here, and we are selling ourselves, and Craig's future, short.
Don't take this wrong. Businesses such as Wal-Mart, Walgreen's and Sonic are nice, but the area needs bigger businesses to lay roots. We need industries that can sustain the area if - and when - energy companies move on.
The expansion of the Internet, telecommunications and, to some degree, travel makes the options for businesses to relocate here more and more likely.
If we give them a reason to.
The problem we face is enticing them to look here, and what we have now is not an effective way to tout Craig and Moffat County as options.
We need a one-stop marketing piece where a business prospect can find at least the majority of the following: available commercial land, available commercial buildings, area business summary, residential property taxes, business property taxes, average cost of doing business in the area, average pay of skilled labor, average pay of unskilled labor, percentage of skilled labor in the area, median income, available housing information, incentive and tax abatement programs (if any), and contact information, among others.
Sound like a lot in one packet? It's not.
Communities across the country have such packets, brochures or flyers. But that is just one piece of the puzzle. You have to create a marketing campaign, as well.
These two components tell people more than just about what pieces are in place, but show how the puzzle fits together with them in the fold.
It creates a two-way street where we can see if a business is good for us, and the business can see if Craig is good for them.
That we don't have a marketing piece or plan in place is the bad news.
The good news is the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership has a Competitive Environment Document on its list of things to do, EDP Executive Specialist Darcy Trask said.
What that document will look like is unknown at this time, as EDP is going to look at areas where Craig/Moffat County can benefit existing and new businesses.
And EDP likely will make that information more robust with its content on its Web site.
What we don't need is another brochure to add to other brochures.
Perhaps the EDP document is the perfect solution, or perhaps it can be packaged in a way that relevant information can be sent along with it.
The prospect of the Competitive Environment Document is, at the very least, a step in the right direction.
Perhaps it is the hand that turns the pieces into a completed puzzle - a puzzle showing a diversified, long-lasting future.