EDP asked to assist Dinosaur with casino project | CraigDailyPress.com

EDP asked to assist Dinosaur with casino project

Joe Moylan

In other news …

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership:

• Approved Sept. 21 meeting minutes.

• Heard a presentation on a work keys testing program from the Craig Workforce Center.

• Heard a Colorado Northwestern Community College update from Russell George, CNCC president, and Gene Bilodeau, vice president of administration.

• Heard a Discovery 9 presentation from Ray Beck.

• Discussed a business incubator and EDP's strategic plan.

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— Board members Jerry Thompson, Alisa Corey, Nadine Daszkiewicz and city liaison Jennifer Riley were absent from Wednesday's meeting.

A Craig resident has asked the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership to assist the Town of Dinosaur in its negotiations with the Ute Tribe to bring a gaming facility to the small town 90 miles west of Craig.

EDP Director Darcy Owens-Trask made the announcement Wednesday during the board's regular monthly meeting.

Owens-Trask said the Craig resident, who prefers to remain anonymous, is worried Dinosaur town officials may need additional assistance to negotiate a contract that is fair for their town.

Although the Utes have a reputation of dealing appropriately with municipalities, Owens-Trask said the Craig resident is concerned for Dinosaur.

"Several of my counterparts in southwest Colorado used to work with them (the Utes)," Owens-Trask said. "They are very well-funded and they are very professional folks.

"With that said, it is my opinion that EDP does not have the ability to dedicate the time, but it is something the board will have to consider very closely and decide whether that is our role or not."

Board member Gene Bilodeau asked what level of involvement the resident expects from EDP.

"The resident believes there is an unfair balance in terms of expertise between the parties that are coming together to write the contract," Owens-Trask said. "There is a feeling that they need someone with more expertise on their team."

Owens-Trask said EDP would not assist the Town of Dinosaur with its negotiations directly, but could help city officials locate an attorney who specializes in Native American gaming contracts should the board decide to get involved.

Owens-Trask said she has not been contacted by anyone from Dinosaur.

Dinosaur Mayor L.D. Smith said council members met with the Utes last week. They approved a potential site and a predevelopment agreement, which opens the door to conduct a feasibility study.

"It's in their hands right now, and we're not meddling until they complete that part of the process," Smith said. "We can't move an inch until they move a foot."

Dinosaur Town Attorney Ed Sands said the Utes presented a proposal from Gaming Market Advisors to conduct a feasibility study for $22,000. The cost is $12,000 higher than the company's original quote. The town is expected to pay half of the cost.

Sands said the Utes are thinking about approaching another gaming company for a price comparison and echoed Smith's comments that any further action hinges entirely on what information comes back in the feasibility study.

However, if things were to move ahead, Sands said he and the town would welcome additional help.

"I think if they approached us, we would strongly consider it certainly," Sands said. "We're always looking for assistance when we can get it."

Smith, on the other hand, is a little more cautious.

"We just committed a good chunk of money for this feasibility study," Smith said. "It's possible we could use the help, but it depends on what it entails."

EDP board members will revisit the issue during its next meeting in November.

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In other news …

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership:

• Approved Sept. 21 meeting minutes.

• Heard a presentation on a work keys testing program from the Craig Workforce Center.

• Heard a Colorado Northwestern Community College update from Russell George, CNCC president, and Gene Bilodeau, vice president of administration.

• Heard a Discovery 9 presentation from Ray Beck.

• Discussed a business incubator and EDP’s strategic plan.

— Board members Jerry Thompson, Alisa Corey, Nadine Daszkiewicz and city liaison Jennifer Riley were absent from Wednesday’s meeting.

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