Craig Chamber passes on interactive mapping project

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In other action:

At the Craig Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting, the board also:

• Approved, 8-0, the August 2011 minutes with a wording correction. Board member Steve Herman was absent for the vote.

• Approved, 9-0, the treasurer’s report.

• Approved, 9-0, its Channel 17/calendar policy.

• Approved, 9-0, filling the board seat vacated by RaChell Novacek, due to her resignation, with Audrey Anna Charchalis and its ballot for board members. Incumbents whose terms are expiring are Don Jones, Ryan Duran, Gail Severson and Jeff Smith. Jennifer Vallem, Craig Daily Press classified advertising sales consultant, will also appear on the ballot. Chamber members will elect four board members from the five candidates for three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2012. Charchalis’ term will run through the end of 2012. The Chamber’s nominating committee suggested and the board approved not including Frank Moe and Lee Bates, who submitted letters of interest, on the ballot because both represent the lodging industry, a segment of business currently represented on the board. Chamber members will receive ballots soon.

• Discussed the Chamber’s beer garden at the Colorado State BBQ Championship, which raised about $500.

• Discussed the Chamber’s Mud Splash mud volleyball tournament, which raised $1,126.25.

• Approved, 9-0, a revised draft of the memorandum of understanding between the Chamber, Moffat County Tourism Association, City of Craig and Moffat County.

• Discussed the annual Crabfest event, scheduled for Oct. 15.

• Received a report from executive director Christina Oxley.

Note: Board members Renee Campbell and Jeremy Mattingley were absent.

The Craig Chamber of Commerce board decided at its Thursday meeting to pass on an interactive mapping opportunity with local company YampaGeo.

Josh Lowe, owner of YampaGeo, during a presentation at the Moffat County Tourism Association board Wednesday, said his goal is to launch a tourism website for Northwest Colorado that includes an interactive mapping feature for attractions, businesses, campgrounds, events and more.

He said the project could grow over time to be “far and above what’s out there for this area and most areas.”

Lowe said he intended for the project to be a joint project between partner organizations.

“I’m interested in this being a collaborative effort among people who can get this information out about the area,” Lowe said.

He said the project could be a “crossroads between all the information sources.”

But Thursday, the Chamber board agreed to allow MCTA, who Chamber executive director Christina Oxley said “seemed fairly enthusiastic about it,” to move forward with the project.

Allowing MCTA to take on the project “solves a lot of heartaches and headaches,” Chamber board member Don Jones said.

Oxley said an out-of-state company approached the Chamber with a demo of an interactive online map in January. She said the Chamber board liked the idea but wanted to investigate hiring a local company to do a similar project.

Oxley said the Chamber board has been meeting with Lowe since February about the project and made YampaGeo an offer in August to create an interactive mapping feature.

Lowe presented a demo of the feature at MCTA’s meeting Wednesday, the same demo Oxley said Lowe presented to the Chamber’s technology committee in June.

Oxley said the Chamber board would allow the tourism association to take on the project as its fits MCTA’s purpose and MCTA has the dollars to fund it.

Oxley said the Chamber, if hosting the project, would sell sponsorships on the maps or offer inclusion as a member benefit as a way to fund the project.

She said the Chamber would collaborate with MCTA on content if requested but does not have plans to contribute financially.

“We have to put our dollars and our resources toward the projects that benefit our Chamber members,” Oxley said.

She said the Chamber does not have plans to offer a similar mapping feature if MCTA proceeds with the project with YampaGeo.

“We just want that service provided, and if no one else is going to do that, then we will make it happen because we serve visitors every day,” Oxley said.

Lowe told the MCTA board Wednesday that $15,000 would be a “good starting point” for the project and that he could launch the feature by the end of the year.

“I think it’s going to be an important project so I’m excited to work with him on it,” MCTA director Melody Villard said.

Michelle Balleck can be reached at 875-1790 or mballeck@craigdailypress.com.

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