Chamber backs Hayden airport mural idea

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At its Thursday meeting, the Craig Chamber of Commerce board:

• Discussed how to attract member businesses to the Steamboat tv18 project, which allows the Chamber airtime on its weekday morning show. Members would promote their businesses or local events to Routt County residents and tourists. Residents can call the Chamber at 824-5689 for more information.

• Passed a motion to explore options for the future of the Marcia Car. Some board members said the Chamber should see if another group, such as a museum, would be interested in purchasing the historical rail car commissioned in 1906. Another possibility would move the car across U.S. Highway 40 to the Moffat County Visitor Center lot.

A new idea at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport had Gene Bilodeau nodding his head.

Bilodeau, Craig city councilor and Craig Chamber of Commerce board member, spoke up at the Chamber board's Thursday meeting and made a motion for the group to dedicate $300 toward an airport mural project, though that might put the Chamber over budget for advertising.

"I think it's a super idea," he said. "I would encourage us, as a group, to throw our hat into the ring."

Mayor Don Jones, also a Chamber board member, presented the idea:

The airport in Hayden has a long stretch of gray concrete wall sidled up against the road every vehicle uses to approach the airport's loading and unloading zones.

Airport Manager Dave Ruppel and Craig City Councilor Ray Beck were discussing how to spruce the area up, and Beck suggested someone paint a series of murals, airport Business Manager Doris Mayhan said.

"We're really looking for a way to make that area more attractive," she said.

If the Routt County Commission approves the idea, Jones said Craig officials are prepared to contract with a local artist for $900 to put up either the Craig Centennial logo or the Elk Hunting Capital of the World emblem on that entrance-area wall.

Jones plans to ask the Chamber, Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership and Moffat County Tourism Association to split the cost.

Officials do not expect the airport to charge for the mural space.

"That's cheap advertising," Jones said. "Our advertising at the airport is very minimal at the present moment, and this is a good idea."

The painting would be about 6 feet high by 6 feet wide. Bilodeau said it could stay there for about three years.

Chamber board members unanimously passed Bilodeau's motion for $300, stipulating they would prefer the Centennial logo be used as opposed to the hunting symbol.

EDP Executive Specialist Darcy Trask and MCTA board member John Ponikvar attended Thursday's meeting, as well.

They agreed to take the proposal to their respective boards at their next meetings. EDP next meets June 18 and MCTA on July 2.

Ponikvar, who has long been a proponent of increasing Moffat County's presence at the airport in Hayden, said he was very supportive of the mural project.

"It's a great idea," he said. "Let's do it."

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