EDP covers pledge | CraigDailyPress.com

EDP covers pledge

Members unsure how much more to spend on flights

Christina M. Currie

Members of the Craig/ Moffat County Economic Development Partnership agreed that subsidizing a summer flight into Hayden was worth their money, but they remain uncertain as to how much they should pay.

The board agreed last week to pay what it promised — $2,500 — and added another $2,500 based on reports of the program’s success. But, when asked to consider contributing $7,500 for a fall program and one for next summer, the board tabled the decision.

“We think it was a success,” said Sandy Evans-Hall, executive director of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association about the summer flight program. “I think we’ve developed some great partnerships through this.”

Routt County has received a $500,000 Federal Aviation Administration grant. The grant will help pay for a guaranteed fall flight for three years and requires a local match of $67,500 each year. The majority of that will come from Steamboat Springs. Craig officials were asked to contribute $10,000 for the summer and fall 2005 program. Program officials will ask for the same amount from Moffat County.

“We’re looking for consistent air service into the Yampa Valley through Hayden,” Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan told the EDP board Wednesday. “We’ve shown the summer program was a success.”

According to Evans-Hall, the subsidized flight program doubled the number of passengers flying into Hayden in June. An additional air service was made available by United Airlines in an attempt to compete with the subsidized flight.

“You need to look at it as an economic development piece of access to this valley,” Evans-Hall said.

The EDP’s economic development committee will review the plan to help fund summer service in 2005 and take its recommendation to the board of directors.

For the summer flight program, $32,500 will be spent marketing the Yampa Valley.

The more successful the marketing program is, the less each contributing entity will have to pay.

The subsidy guarantees that whether passengers book the flight or not, Continental will make the same amount of money for providing the flight. The more passengers who fly, the less has to be paid for unfilled seats.

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