Editorial: Planning for possibilities
October 1, 2011
Organizations and elected leaders should be at work now, when the economy is slow, to preserve the cornerstones of Moffat County’s economy and capitalize on potential sources of future growth.
When the economy takes a plunge, concepts like growth and sustainability often go by the wayside.
But, the time to plan for future possibilities — not to mention preserving the economic powerhouses that support Moffat County — isn't sometime in the future.
The time to plan is now.
The workforce that keeps the local mining industry alive should be one source of concern. Most of the mines came online in the late 1970s, which means longtime employees who began their careers at these mines are probably getting ready to retire.
Who will have the education and skills to take their place?
Moffat County is fortunate to have the mine training programs offered through Colorado Northwestern Community College's Craig campus.
These courses will help funnel new employees into the industry who are ready to hit the ground running.
And, this is important because putting an emphasis on workforce training isn't just a relic from more promising economic times — it's a necessity, right now.
To thrive, however, Moffat County needs to wean itself off the fickle energy industry and capitalize on other possibilities, including the one that's only about 40 miles away.
Yes, the Editorial Board is referring to what some consider the awful s-word: Steamboat Springs.
Moffat County residents are too busy telling everyone Craig is not Steamboat that they overlook the advantages of living just down the road from a nationally known ski resort.
Steamboat lures thousands of tourists a year — tourists who could be drawn to Moffat County.
Now, while the economy is slow, local officials and organizations could develop marketing strategies to capitalize on Steamboat's flood of visitors.
But, it can't happen if residents keep trying to distance themselves from their eastern neighbor, pushing away rare opportunities in the process.
Elected officials also have a role in whether Craig and Moffat County grow economically.
Progressive leaders are key to promoting growth and sustaining already viable industries.
The people speak with their votes. If elected officials here aren't willing to take bold, progressive moves, voters should elect candidates who will.
Building and preserving Moffat County's economy can't wait. It needs to happen now.
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