Resident outlines visitor center proposal to county commission | CraigDailyPress.com

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Resident outlines visitor center proposal to county commission

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At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, Feb. 2 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 3-0, voided warrant resolutions for the month of February totaling $672.75.

• Approved, 3-0, an addendum adjusting various rates with Prather Productions of Craig and the Moffat County Department of Social Services for the core services program’s life skills services.

• Approved, 3-0, an addendum adjusting various rates to the Colorado Works Program’s personal job coaching services with SLD Group of Hamilton and the Moffat County Department of Social Services.

• Approved, 3-0, a yearly music license renewal with BMI totaling $309.

• Approved, 3-0, a monthly treasurer’s report.

• Approved, 3-0, amendments to the county’s group insurance coverage with Great West Healthcare.

• Approved, 3-0, a request to vacate 570 feet of Moffat County Road 222 running through the Norman property.

• Discussed various wellness program options with human resources director Lynnette Running.

Moffat County resident Melody Villard presented a set of ideas Tuesday she hopes will boost the role the Moffat County Visitor Center plays in the county's tourism promotion efforts.

At its regular Tuesday meeting, Villard outlined a plan for working with the Moffat County Tourism Association to develop a "complete and focused visitor center that could bring in more visitors to Moffat County through distribution of all businesses, activities and events rather than just those within a membership-driven entity."

The Moffat County Visitor Center currently shares a location with the Craig Chamber of Commerce on West Victory Way. The Chamber board recently submitted a proposal to the commission asking to oversee the lodging tax fund currently managed by MCTA.

"The Chamber opened some communication that I think was vital to have, and I think they threw an option out there that maybe hadn't been explored before," she said after the meeting. "I definitely would say it spurred our wanting to step up and show that it is not the only option."

One of the options Villard presented included the relocation and construction of a "stand-alone visitor center to a site that will be devoted to meeting the needs of visitors."

Villard's presentation states "the tourism board would be better served to take charge and improve communication and vital relationships within the trinity of the (Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership), Chamber and MCTA by taking the responsibility for a stand-alone visitor center."

"I don't want to say that the boost is in making it better, it is making the relationship behind it work better," she said after the meeting. "If that discussion leads to a new building somewhere else where all three are housed, that's an option. Or, if it leads to a stand-alone visitor center that is a non-membership driven base, then maybe that's the discussion that needs to happen."

Villard also presented information about the website she helped develop for Gateway to Moffat County Visitor Center — visitmoffatcounty.com — as a customer extension of the Craig Campground.

Villard said she thought Gateway to Moffat County Visitor Center could also be a valuable asset for both entities and would provide an opportunity for partnership.

"It is not to say there isn't good customer service in several different sectors, but that there definitely is room for improvement and there is room for more education and room for more discussion," she said.

During the meeting, commissioner Tom Gray asked Villard about the continuing role the Chamber naturally plays with the visitor center.

"It seems like there is a place for a mix there and probably some of the issues that keep coming up are, 'What is that mix and how's it handled?' Are you saying you want to work on that mix?" Gray said.

Villard agreed, adding it is "vital" that mix with the Chamber remains.

"I think it is just getting back to the actual essentials of each board's responsibility, taking a look at what their actually responsibility is with that, whether it is the tourism, whether it's the business stability or the long-term stability," she said after the meeting.

The proposal also outlines what ideal features the visitor center should have and that it needs to partner with organizations like the Chamber, EDP, Colorado Division of Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, local museums and county tourism events.

"The center should be devoted to being visitor friendly through ample parking, visitor friendly hours, displays and interactive kiosks spanning all age groups, and educating visitors of our natural resources, coal mines, energy producing plants, wildlife opportunities and outdoor recreation, all of which is abundantly available within our county," the proposal reads.

Villard agreed to discuss the matter with MCTA at its next meeting.

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