EDP director outlines growth plan to city council | CraigDailyPress.com

EDP director outlines growth plan to city council

Brian Smith

Darcy Trask, director of the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, said her organization is often torn between focusing on two slightly different economic philosophies.

Economic hunting or gardening.

Trask outlined to the Craig City Council at its regular Tuesday meeting EDP's plan that would seek to use the better aspects of the two philosophies to grow and develop business in Moffat County in a way that fits with the current economic and political climate.

Instead of approaching economic hunting in the traditional sense of working to bring new businesses and industries into the county, or gardening in the sense of fostering new businesses to open, Trask said EDP is considering focusing on a hybrid approach of sorts.

That approach includes growing and diversifying the current businesses already established in the area.

"Should we be playing economic development defense, meaning we are just reacting to the stuff that is coming at us, or should we be playing offense?" Trask said.

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Trask said the latter may be more effective considering the current political climate has been "pretty brutal" to Moffat County's primary businesses.

"Before, we have always said diversity is always really important," she said. "But, I don't think we have had the kind of regulatory environment where we have had the kind of concern about our workers that we do have in our primary industries."

Working to diversify the area's businesses could remedy that, she said, adding it would be the EDP's goal to examine "how do we help these folks?"

Trask said EDP will focus on helping reduce companies' barriers for growth and find ways for them to offer new products and services to grow.

She used several examples of ways EDP could accomplish that goal, including the hunting recreation industry and local meat processing plants.

"We have several meat processors in town and we might say, 'OK, is there an opportunity in the locally grown, value added (agriculture) world?" she said. "What do these businesses need that they don't currently have?"

After Trask presented the EDP's vision to the city, she listened to a wide range of feedback from the city council.

Those concerns included questions about how EDP can help bring more jobs to the area and if the organization should be spending as much time in the political arena as it had in the last year.

Trask said she felt the council was supportive of the idea to grow and diversify the already established businesses in the area and anticipates EDP to focus on that goal for the next two years.

"We have asked for our members and our board members to talk with folks in town and say, 'What do you think about this?'" she said. "I have said to the board that if we are going to do that, that is going to have to be our focus for two years because that stuff takes time."

Moreover, Trask said, the plan fits with the goal EDP continuously identifies as the most important thing it can do for the community , diversification.

"The problem with that is that is the hardest thing that we could possibly pick to do," she said.

In other news

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 6-0, Dec. 14 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 6-0, December bills totaling $578,132.83

• Approved, 6-0, renewal of the hotel and restaurant liquor license for the Holiday Inn of Craig, 300 S. Colo. Highway 13. No cause was shown for denial.

• Approved, 6-0, adding $3,627 to a flooring project at Craig City Hall to include more vinyl tiles for a total contract price of $46,172 with Rocky Mountain TLC, Inc.

• Approved, 6-0, resolution No. 1 designating a public place for posting notice of meetings on the bulletin board between the inner and outer doors of the west entrance of Craig City Hall.

• Approved, 6-0, resolution No. 2 declaring the Craig Daily Press as the official newspaper of the City of Craig.

• Heard a monthly report for the Craig Police Department for December.

, Council member Byron Willems was absent from the meeting.

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