EDP plans follow-up to Mesa State presentation

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Consumer study moving forward

The Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership's consumer preference study project is nearing implementation, Executive Specialist Darcy Trask said.

The study, based on one conducted in Steamboat Springs in 2003, will poll residents regarding which goods and services they buy in Craig compared to elsewhere. The information can be used to identify business opportunities by showing the industries with the least amount of local support.

Scott Ford, the former EDP interim director who is conducting the survey, is on track to have preliminary results by EDP's annual member meeting in May, Trask said.

She added surveys could be mailed out within a month.

— The last time a group of Moffat County business owners, politicians, teachers, doctors, ranchers and residents got together, they didn't have answers.

That was an icy afternoon in early February, when representatives from Mesa State College asked how problems associated with fast growth could be alleviated after a presentation of their report "The Socioeconomic Impacts of Growth" commissioned by the El Pomar Foundation.

At the time, audience members said they had done what they could do, that it was largely impossible to communicate with a state government that is, first, controlled by the opposing political party, and second, more interested in giving money to the Front Range than the Western Slope.

The Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership board thinks Moffat County can do better. It plans to host a meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. April 2 with the same community representatives who attended the January presentation.

EDP Executive Specialist Darcy Trask is working on finding a location.

"We need to stop being sour about it and belly up and do something about it," said Gene Bilodeau, who attended EDP's meeting Wednesday as a Craig Chamber of Commerce representative and championed the proposal.

The Mesa State study found that since the early 2000s, rapid commercial and industrial growth in Northwest Colorado has strained local roads and hospitals, caused a sudden housing shortage and driven up inflation.

Local governments alone, Bilodeau said, cannot fix most of those problems, but residents here can address certain things without waiting for an outside savior.

Such as communication, he said.

As much as local officials feel they can't relate to those with the state, city of Craig and Moffat County leaders have not cooperated well, either, Bilodeau said.

"We need to look at local solutions before we can really branch out," he said.

Bilodeau said his hope is that those attending the follow-up meeting will have ideas about what other problems might have local solutions, as well.

Moffat County can then take constructive ideas to Mesa State's regional planning meeting June 13 in Grand Junction, Bilodeau said.

He added that EDP is the "perfect fit" for this kind of forum.

"Part of economic development is the impact of growth and what we can do to help that," Bilodeau said. "EDP can be that tool."

Comments

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