Craig There are opportunities and avenues for Moffat County to grow.
At least five businesses and entrepreneurs have sought information recently from the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership about opening in the area.
Although none has yet materialized, EDP officials know of possibilities with the state that can help the area capture similar prospects.
Moffat County was cleared for a free economic assessment from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade some years ago, but the visit never materialized.
However, the EDP board has gotten confirmation that state officials will come to Moffat County this Sept. 18 and 19.
The board selected three areas it would like the Office of Economic Development to focus on: diversifying the local economy and attracting primary job industries, workforce development and community leadership and planning.
The board felt those topics were the most important to the area, EDP Director Darcy Trask said.
She added she was able to roll many of the board's concerns into the three topics, such as what industries to target and whether the county will be able to attract primary job businesses that pay livable wages and benefits.
"There was some discussion about retail and outside leakage (where locals spend money on goods outside the county) and also having them look at downtown and downtown revitalization," Trask said. "That one didn't rise to the top and didn't fit into one of the three categories" the board eventually chose.
The decisions on what questions to present to the state came from board members' experiences and feedback from the community.
Trask said that during recent interviews with local business owners, some felt the city and county did not cooperate well in planning and zoning.
"They said that could be a hindrance to business," she said. "We would like to know how EDP can help facilitate a better process."
The visiting state officials plan to have meetings with community members all day Sept. 18 and then finish their visit the next day.
A preliminary report should be available Sept. 19, with a lengthier final report that will arrive sometime later.
"Hopefully, this will let us know what are some of the things we can accomplish and what are some of the things that may be beyond our reach," Trask said. "When the report comes that tells us what we can do, EDP would be committed to making those things happen."
Trask also is assembling economic data, tax numbers, information about available assets and other records for a Moffat County portfolio that business owners and entrepreneurs around the country can access through the state.
When a business considers relocating or opening in Colorado, it can either contact the Office of Economic Development for potential sites or look through its online site locator database, Trask said.
Moffat County does not, as of now, have much information to share with businesses that call the state, Trask said, and also does not have anything on their database that Trask is aware of.
"We have not fully taken advantage of thos
e services," she said. "When we do, it could open us up to more businesses taking harder looks at us."
Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org