MCTA, Chamber discuss relationship, shared office space |

MCTA, Chamber discuss relationship, shared office space

Michelle Balleck

A discussion about the Moffat County Tourism Association seeking new office space Thursday at the Craig Chamber of Commerce board meeting turned from square footage to relationships.

MCTA, currently located in the northwest corner of the Museum of Northwest Colorado, 590 Yampa Ave., is considering several commercial rental spaces in Craig.

At the museum, MCTA has 224 square feet of office space plus shared storage and kitchen space for $416.66 per month, which includes utilities. MCTA's current lease with the museum, which the organizations plan to discontinue, expires Nov. 30.

MCTA director Melody Villard proposes the organization rent suite 121 in Centennial Mall, 1111 W. Victory Way, which is 3,217 square feet.

Villard wrote in her director's report that rent at the mall is negotiable and that she would like to present a proposal for $800 per month. Utilities would be an additional expense.

At Thursday's Chamber meeting, Villard said the additional space at the mall is a "hidden opportunity" for "interactive displays," including some from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Dinosaur National Monument.

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Villard said the mall would also afford opportunities to host events and utilize the corridor space for wall hangings.

Chamber executive director Christina Oxley said she takes issue with "using tax dollars to duplicate an existing service" offered by the Moffat County Visitor Center, which the Chamber operates.

Bryce Jacobson, MCTA board member and Craig Daily Press publisher, said Wednesday he would like to revisit the issue of having an office at the Chamber, 360 E. Victory Way, before moving forward with other arrangements.

Oxley said such an arrangement would require re-addressing an expansion at the office, as the two organizations, along with the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, have discussed in past years.

However, Villard said Thursday she thinks the mall offers more opportunities than the Chamber space.

Rebekah Greenwood, executive assistant at the Chamber, said she hopes MCTA can spend funds on marketing the area and creating visitor-ready attractions instead of duplicating services.

"We already have a wonderful asset here at the visitor center," Greenwood said.

Chamber board member Gene Bilodeau, who is also an EDP board member, said the relationship between the Chamber and MCTA has eroded to a previous state.

EDP Director Darcy Owens-Trask sent an email Tuesday to Chamber and MCTA directors and board chairpersons stating her intent to ask her board to approve a neutrality statement indicating EDP would not take sides between the two entities.

"I think there's two groups who need to wake up…" Bilodeau said. "It isn't healthy and it's starting to be reflected more and more in the community, and I don't want to be a part of it."

Villard said she hopes to improve communication and move forward.

"I think some bridges were burnt and I'd like to see us rebuild those," she said.

At Wednesday's MCTA meeting, Jacobson offered that MCTA could look into a temporary office location, such as at the Daily Press office, 466 Yampa Ave., until construction could be completed at the Chamber office, should the organizations reach an agreement to be housed together.

MCTA board member Kerry Moe made a motion Wednesday to move forward with renting space at Centennial Mall, which did not receive a second.

The MCTA board tabled further discussion and a decision on office space until its Oct. 5 meeting.

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In other action:

At the Moffat County Tourism Association’s monthly meeting, the board also:

• Approved, 6-0, correcting the minutes of the April 2011 meeting to reflect the approval of $7,300 in event sponsorship for the Colorado State BBQ Championship instead of $2,375 as written. Board member Bryce Jacobson abstained.

• Heard a presentation from Kandee Dilldine about Grand Olde West Days’ attendance, sponsorships and advertising dollars spent.

• Denied a request from Dan Davidson, director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado, to fund printing costs for a Marcia Car brochure.

• Heard a presentation from Josh Lowe, of YampaGeo, about a proposed collaborative interactive mapping project.

• Approved, 6-1, spending $1,148 on 100 30-second commercials on KRAI radio station. Board member Kerry Moe voted against.

• Approved, 7-0, the 2012 MCTA budget, totaling $158,400 with a reserve of $74,124.20.

• Approved, 7-0, spending $1,272 on six months of advertising at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

• Heard a report from director Melody Villard and discussed a Colorado Open Records Act request, office assistant Gena Hinkemeyer’s resignation and using a Moffat County floating worker opportunity to complete projects and a memorandum of understanding with the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

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