Hayden lands $150K grant to create co-working space to spur business creation
Hayden Mayor Tim Redmond said there is one thing Hayden is missing, and a new state grant will help fill that void.
“The one thing that is really lacking in Hayden are businesses,” Redmond said. “Your community is not going to grow until you start to attract the commercial businesses.”
The town has been awarded a $150,000 Rural Economic Development Initiative Grant from the state to build a co-working space to help grow business activity and provide resources for people looking to start a business.
For Hayden, a large part of its tax base is tied to the energy industry, and the Hayden Station power plant and Twentymile Coal Mine are both expected to close in the next 10 years. While some predict the town’s demise, the recent grant is aimed at fostering business ideas and diversifying the local economy and is administered by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
Fifteen different rural communities across the state, including Craig and Hayden, received $793,000 in grants. Craig is preparing for the closure of the Craig Station by 2030.
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“REDI grant projects exemplify the wide variety of strategies from local governments across the state working hard to stimulate their economies,” said Rick Garcia, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs.
In Craig, the $124,000 grant will be used to hire an economic priorities coordinator to enhance the city’s economic development capacity and lead implementation of the city’s highest priorities. This person also will lead implementation of goals around regional workforces, housing, transit, business attraction, expansion and retention.
In Hayden, the grant will create a co-working space that will help provide education, training and stimulation of entrepreneurship to Hayden residents and businesses.
Redmond, who will become a Routt County commissioner in January, said the space will have equipment, resources and people offering advice. The Small Business Development Council will also have space there.
“We’re an up-and-coming small town, and there are a lot of people with great ideas, but they don’t necessarily have the resources,” Redmond said. “A lot of people can write a business plan, but there are not that many people that can review it.”
While some people are comfortable with Hayden being a bedroom community, one whose residents mostly commute to other places for work, Redmond said he isn’t.
“I don’t want my community to have all its eggs in one basket, and that is why we are looking to diversify our economy so that we can have multiple legs to stand on, not just energy or coal mines,” he said. “I believe that takes away a lot of risk for a community.”
Hayden’s economy is not diverse when compared to Craig or Steamboat Springs, Redmond said. Roughly 60% of the budget for the school comes from the coal mine and power plant.
Because of that, Redmond said it is easy to see why someone looking to open a business in the area would likely choose one of those larger towns, even if they live in Hayden. Redmond said the new co-working space, new school and the Hayden Community Center all contribute toward making Hayden a more attractive community.
Others are not as optimistic.
“There are people in this town that will tell me to my face ‘That is the end of this town, we are going to die,’” Redmond said about the closing of Hayden station and Twentymile Coal Mine. “I’m not going to look at it that way. I am looking at this as an opportunity for the people of this town to redefine who they want to be.”
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Nothing’s easy for financial planning these days, especially in Craig.