Chamber takes grant prospect to MCTA

Tourism board president sees opportunity

Other action

At its Thursday meeting, the Craig Chamber of Commerce:

• Declined an invitation to operate either a pie tasting contest or a beer garden at the Wyman Museum's planned fall festival Aug. 23. Board members said the Chamber had too many other projects at the moment.

• Accepted a $1,000 payment from Yampa Valley Partners for the Chamber's efforts in "Fueling Thought" Energy Summit 2008. Chamber staff had volunteered to help and did not expect payment, but Yampa Valley Partners made the payment as a "token of appreciation," Executive Director Audrey Danner wrote in a letter to the Chamber board.

— The Craig Chamber of Commerce board debated its role Thursday afternoon.

Chamber Executive Director Christina Currie asked the board if it would be interested in being part of a renewed effort to grab one of a few state cultural heritage tourism grants.

The grants - each $50,000 distributed by the Colorado Historical Society and Colorado Tourism Office - are given to promote cultural attractions, which Currie said Moffat County is rich with.

"More and more, people want to touch history, they want to touch lifestyles," she said. "It's seeing the petroglyphs, and mine and agricultural history are big pieces of that, too. They don't want to go to places with big crowds and set agendas."

Currie said it was an important piece of promoting Moffat County, and pointed to southwestern Colorado counties that had turned the state's $50,000 into about $400,000 in other grants and awards as an example of success.

Board member Gene Bilodeau said he did not want the Chamber to take the reins on tourism efforts. That was the job of other organizations.

"We've spent so much time trying to delineate the three groups," he said about the Chamber, Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership and Moffat County Tourism Association.

Bilodeau recommended the Chamber take the project to either the MCTA, Museum of Northwest Colorado or Wyman Museum.

Currie said the Chamber was approached because it has the staff to see the job done. MCTA does not have a staff person at the moment.

MCTA Board President Tammie Thompson-Booker said that should not hinder the board.

"I think that's something we need to be moving on," she said. "I hope when we hire a director, that's something we can have that person working on.

"Things like that can be great for this community and the region. I'm sure we, as a board, can do it."

Thompson-Booker said she planned to contact the Community Agriculture Alliance, which first approached Currie, and see where the MCTA could fit in.

"It's great to sit around and talk about our assets and what we could do, someday," Thompson-Booker said. "It's important we move past that phase and get some things done."

Current plans are for Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties to partner together as a region and apply for the grant.

Applications are due Aug. 4.

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