Craig community leaders strive for economic diversification | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig community leaders strive for economic diversification

Patrick Kelly

Representatives from Moffat County attended the National Association of Counties' Innovation Challenge in Pikeville, Kentucky. Left: CNCC President Russell George, TMH CEO John Rossfeld, County Commissioner Frank Moe, MCSD Superintendent Brent Curtice, Craig Mayor Ray Beck and Craig/Moffat Economic Development Board Chair Jay Oxley.

Last week, six Moffat County representatives travelled to Pikeville, Kentucky, to participate in the National Association of Counties' Innovation Challenge.

According to NACo's website, the purpose of the Innovation Challenge is to support regional leaders from coal-reliant communities with "retooling their economies to become more resilient to changing conditions."

Moffat County's team consisted of Frank Moe, Moffat County commissioner; Brent Curtice, superintendent of Moffat County School District; Russell George, president of Colorado Northwestern Community College; Jay Oxley, board chair of the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership; Ray Beck, mayor of Craig; and John Rossfeld, CEO of The Memorial Hospital.

Beck said in all his experience serving Craig and Moffat County, he has never seen this level of cohesion and commitment between different areas of the community.

Beck described the team as "like-minded community leaders that share the same vision and mission, that want to help move Craig forward."

Both Moe and Beck agreed that although Craig is not in a crisis, economic diversification is important for helping Craig grow and avoiding future turmoil.

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"There are a lot of people in the community that want to see Craig move forward and diversify," Beck said. "We're not forgetting about our energy industry…we very much support that."

Now that the team has returned from the two-and-a-half day workshop, their focus is on unifying the community with a common vision. Once that is accomplished they can begin to implant plans based on what they learned in Pikeville.

"The community is the team," Moe said.

Beck said the six representatives who attended the workshop hope to help lead the charge towards economic growth but members of the community will be the boots on the ground.

"It's going to be a community wide effort to get us there," he said.

At 5:30 p.m. on May 11, the Craig City Council and Moffat County Commissioners will hold a public meeting at The Memorial Hospital to begin the process of engaging the community.

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @M_Pkelly.

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