New committee wants to bring positive change to Craig

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As a community, Craig has had its ups and downs.

A new committee wants to find a positive solution to fight the downs.

In October, the city had to take a long look at the budget. Craig is pulling deep from reserve funds to keep out of the red. In 2013, the city had to take almost $3 million out of reserve to avoid falling into a deficit and it will need to reach deep into its pockets again in 2014; drawing about $2.2 million from the reserves.

Craig City Council and department heads have workshopped the budget, evaluating where they need to cut back. But Council member Joe Bird wants to find another and more optimistic approach.

That’s why he’s been working with other elected officials and community leaders to develop a committee that will tackle local challenges. It’s called Connecting Craig.

“I don’t like hearing everybody talk about what Craig isn’t,” Bird said. “I want to talk about what Craig is.”

Bird said he wanted to bring together a diverse group of people to discuss the issues Craig faces and find creative ways to overcome those challenges.

“We’re trying to figure out how to unite people,” he said. “There’s a lot of things where you can still help each other obtain goals.”

The committee includes elected officials, hospital staff, United Way and other active community members and organizations.

Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe is on the committee and said it will be a way for leaders to figure out how to change attitudes in the community.

“We just want to push the positive and get involved in creating that kind of atmosphere in Craig,” he said.

Jennifer Riley, chief of organizational excellence at The Memorial Hospital, is a member of Connecting Craig, and said the committee will be trying to come up with ways to create a more vibrant culture and making it an attractive place to move and stay.

“Once you get people here, how do you engage them?” she said. “And how can we grow and strengthen some of the things we already have?”

The committee is in its infancy; they have met only two times and haven’t yet developed a mission or vision.

But Bird is confident that the group will map out definitive ideas after the new year. The next meeting is Jan. 6, and Bird said he hopes the enthusiasm of entering into a new year will motivate the group.

“If we can start off on the right foot maybe we can gain some momentum,” he said.

The committee will be a way for talk to become action, Riley said.

“I think it will be the conduit to implement some of the resources that are already existing,” she said.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@craigdailypress.com.

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