Editorial: Planet Yampa — Pipedream or progress?
July 9, 2011
The Planet Yampa development has gained attention. A feasibility study, now backed by the federal government, will be the final verdict.
The numbers behind a project attempting to gain foothold in Moffat County are both considerable and attractive.
Former Moffat County Tourism Association Director Marilynn Hill's attempt at developing a large-scale hydroponic greenhouse complex has been publicized with the following figures: 12 greenhouses each equal to the size of 32 football fields; potentially eight years to complete; $50,000 in support via a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant; 600 jobs; and a $200 million price tag.
We're eager to learn whether those numbers are realistic or not.
The Editorial Board discussed Hill's project at its Tuesday meeting. While all the numbers require attention, it's the last three the board discussed most.
Who wouldn't like a $200 million development in our backyard with 600 new jobs?
That goes a long way toward improving our economic future.
In real life there's a fine line between what is and might be, and though the project may seem like difficult, it can't be dismissed.
The USDA recently OK'd Hill and her partners for the $50,000 allocation, which will fund a feasibility study.
That sort of financial backing might suggest Hill is onto something; that perhaps Planet Yampa isn't located in a galaxy far from our own.
The USDA support could also be suggestive of a government spending wildly and a political climate that favors anything green.
The jury is out and it's not coming back until the study wraps.
The Editorial Board commends Hill for pursuing a project that could be valuable to our community's future, thus supplying the economic diversity Moffat County has long needed.
The board would certainly encourage our local governments and public entities to support the project, but that support should not include local tax dollars.
If Planet Yampa is to succeed, it has to prove it can walk on its own without subsidies. The USDA grant is a good sign, and we're optimistic for Hill and company.
The study will tell us what we need to know, and let's all hope the money is well spent.