Craig What do the residents of Moffat County have to say about Moffat County? How could the area be made better?
That’s what Kate Nowak, executive director of Yampa Valley Data Partners, and Chris Oxley, executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce, intend to find out — but it requires funding.
“This is a chance for local citizens to have a voice,” Nowak said, adding that it gives them an opportunity to say where they want to see their community go.
Nowak made a presentation at Tuesday’s Moffat County Commission and Craig City Council meetings, outlining the community-driven visioning project.
When addressing City Council, Nowak said the visioning project would be a way to determine “how can we have the community be the community we want it so be.”
The project already has earned $20,000 in grants from Union Pacific and Shell Oil, but they are asking for $5,000 from Craig City Council and Moffat County each.
The reason for the high cost, Oxley said, is because they are trying to get the community involved, which means they have to pay for marketing, catering and child care for meetings, facilitating and other extraneous costs.
“I hear so many times that, I would’ve participated (in a public meeting), but I had to work then or I didn’t know what to do with my kids,” she said.
They want to break down those barriers, Oxley said.
“What are people’s obstacles to participation and how would we overcome those?” she said. “If getting there is a transportation issue, then we will provide a meeting near you.”
The visioning plan would gather community input via surveys and 12 open meetings in Craig, Hamilton, Maybell and Dinosaur to put together a comprehensive report about the needs in the area. The report then would be distributed to local departments and made widely available to the public.
It will function differently from departmental vision projects, Oxley said, because it would be developed by members of the community, instead of government officials or department employees.
“The difference between those and this is this is citizen-driven,” she said. “It’s looking at it as one whole picture.”
At the county commissioner meeting, attendees brought up some questions. Jeff Comstock, director of Moffat County Department of Natural Resources, said he was concerned whether the visioning would be carried out into action and if it was worth the cost.
“I’ve been involved in many visioning attempts. Throughout over 10 years' experience on that, I very rarely see them used,” he said. “They’ve been a useful discussion for the respective organization, but I’ve seen them sit on the shelf after the one or two days you vision.”
But, he said, the community-driven aspect did look like a new concept.
“It really is a broader effort. It does have a different twist,” he said.
Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.