Moffat County commissioners specify projects for economic growth |

Moffat County commissioners specify projects for economic growth

Patrick Kelly

Moffat County Commissioners agreed on two top picks out of six recommendations provided by an economic development firm hired to evaluate the regional economy and outline opportunities for growth.

In January, Better City, an Ogden, Utah-based firm specializing in business strategies, was hired by the county at a cost of $81,890.

The goal was to spend about one year studying the Moffat County’s economic strengths and weaknesses before producing a final action plan.

At the conclusion of its study, Better City presented the following recommendations.

• Revitalize the downtown area and take advantage of the Yampa River.

• Construct a themed park in Dinosaur.

• Create an industrial park.

• Foster artisan textile manufacturing.

• Develop an entrepreneurial and manufacturing incubator.

• Pursue aquaculture opportunities.

Out of the six proposals, the commissioners agreed to combine artisan textile manufacturing, the industrial park and incubators as the first priority.

“I think we should look at the industrial park, the artisan textile manufacturing and the entrepreneurial incubator as a group and go forward with those,” Moffat County Commissioner Frank Moe said at the commissioners’ Tuesday meeting.

The next choice was downtown development, which Commissioner John Kinkaid said offered a high return on investment.

“I’m all for getting the most bang for our buck, so I think the downtown mixed-use would be a great idea,” Kinkaid said.

Ranking was informal and the commissioners didn’t strictly prioritize one proposal above the other at their Tuesday morning meeting.

“I think our community has the ability to do two things at one time,” Moe said.

The commissioners plan to present their recommendations to the Moffat County Local Marketing District Board and hopefully collaborate on a matching grant to fund feasibility studies.

LMD Vice President Kirstie McPherson said the county has been in touch with the board and it is prepared to discuss the areas of focus selected by the commissioners.

“Their intention is to pass it along to the LMD, which makes sense,” McPherson said.

To apply for Economic Development Administration grants to fund feasibility studies, the county has crafted a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy out of the report provided by Better City.

Upon approval by the EDA, the document is good for five years and allows the county to apply for certain grants. It also requires yearly reports on the strategic direction and action plan outlined within the document.

Moffat County Finance Director Mindy Curtis said the cost of feasibility studies would depend on what the commissioners want to do.

“You create the scope of work before you go out for the proposal so the companies know what your requesting,” Curtis said. “It really depends on what we want to do.”

Better City’s Economic Development Director Jason Godfrey said his firm would certainly be returning a bid once the county puts out a request for feasibility and implementation studies.

“At this point we’re really committed to the city,” he said. “We’ve built up relationships and have a real passion for the community and Moffat County.”

Godfrey said the cost of performing a feasibility study and possibly beginning on implementation would hinge on the scope of work requested by the commissioners.

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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