EDP seeking Craig, Moffat County endorsement of economic development plan

Darcy Owens-Trask said she heard several new voices add to the discussion about Moffat County’s portion of a statewide bottom-up economic development during a regional meeting last week.

Those voices included Jeff Comstock, Moffat County’s natural resources director, and former Moffat County Commissioner T. Wright Dickinson.

“That (meeting) gave us some exposure that, for whatever reason, we haven’t had in other forums,” said Owens-Trask, executive director for the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, to the EDP Board Wednesday at the Moffat County Courthouse.

The regional meeting, which was hosted in Craig, also included representatives from Routt, Mesa, Rio Blanco and Garfield counties, and a brief appearance from Gov. John Hickenlooper.

While EDP’s economic development plan for Moffat County has already been submitted to the state, Owens-Trask recommended to the board that EDP work with officials from Moffat County and the City of Craig to make sure the plan is endorsed by both entities.

Owens-Trask told the board that it was an idea spurred by conversations with Comstock, who originally asked EDP to consider making sure the county’s land use plan and EDP’s economic development plan were not conflicting.

He later suggested allowing the county commission to review the plan.

Owens-Trask said that following a public meeting about the plan Feb. 24, which was attended by city and county officials, she felt local elected officials already support the plan.

“I felt like we had that (endorsement), at least what was necessary, after we had that meeting,” she said. “However, it is in the eye of the beholder and it’s important what our partners think.

“If the commissioners feel like they’d like a more formal, for lack of a better term, approval process, and if we can come to an agreement that works for our organization, my feeling is it’s worth a little more time and effort on our part to go ahead and get that.”

County commissioner Audrey Danner attended Wednesday’s board’s meeting to talk about the issue.

She said the county’s planning documents also contain the methodology and reasoning behind the plans.

“I see value in pulling (ideas) together because it also helps us, as county commissioners, understand our role as the ‘M’ in the C/MEDP for this other document,” Danner said.

Since EDP has already submitted its plan to the state, the organization would have to note any changes as an addendum.

EDP Board Chairman Scott Cook expressed concern that if there was an addendum, the state would view the county as disorganized.

“The only thing that’s as important as what’s in the strategic plan is the fact that all of us have agreed,” Cook said. “I think we all maybe need to agree to agree.”

No date was set for the county commission to review EDP’s plan.

“It doesn’t have to be a formal resolution and I don’t mean to put it on our city council that they have to do the same,” Danner said. “(The endorsement) seems to fit for us so that we agree.”

Owens-Trask told the board that she wouldn’t have brought it up unless she felt it was a good use of EDP’s resources.

“I feel like we’re dangerously close to a breakthrough, so I think it’s worth our time,” she said.

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