New city development leader: ‘Craig has great opportunities for growth’
For Craig Press
Government can be “a little scary,” but Shannon Scott wants entrepreneurs to know she’s there to help navigate it.
The City of Craig’s new economic development coordinator started this week to oversee the region’s economic development committee and encourage regional growth. Her job description includes implementing community-wide redevelopment programs and supporting the Craig Urban Renewal Authority to help Craig’s business owners flourish.
Prior to joining the city, Scott served as the business retention and expansion coordinator and economic development specialist for the City of San Angelo, Texas. She helped build the city’s
tax base by expanding existing businesses and recruiting new ones, she said.
“My duties there included helping local businesses expand, and helping to facilitate growth through a Tax Increment Reinvestment program designed to alleviate blight and beautify,” she said.
Scott always planned to return to Colorado; she lived in the high desert about 90 miles southwest of Craig 20 years ago.
“I saw this position opened up, and felt my experience, education and previous roles would make me a great fit,” she said. “I’m excited to be here.”
This experience, she said, will help build on the city’s existing revitalization efforts and toss new perspectives into the mix. Among her first priorities are targeting blighted areas of Moffat County
and finding jobs for displaced coal mine workers as the industry declines.
She will use a city housing study already in motion to address residents’ needs and the needs of a, hopefully, expanding economy. Her department will further invest in tourism and existing attractions, including the museum and library.
“If you’re recruiting outside businesses, the employees are going to need a place to live,” she said. “We’re working on a housing study in order to determine what potential opportunities we have to put those in place for expansion.”
Assisting displaced mine workers in the coming years will be one of Scott’s weightiest tasks, she said, as will diversifying the economy in a coal-centered region.
“Finding jobs or positions that are equitable to what the miners are making now…,” she said. “We’re looking at retraining in college to apply those skills to a similar industry-related position such as construction or heavy labor duties.”
The City of Craig paired two recent grants to hire Scott full-time for at least two years, City Manager Peter Brixius said. In a news release, Brixius said Scott had the skills and experience required to further the city’s economic and urban planning initiatives.
“We look forward to expanding our development capacity with Shannon’s help to ensure that our transition is bright and more robust than ever,” he said.
In the coming months, Scott plans to meet with the local business community to take stock of what people want to see most.
“I think there are great opportunities for growth in Craig,” she said. “The community needs to know government can be a little scary, but we’re very pro-business and willing to support the local industries. We’re here as a resource.”
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Two more of Craig’s city-allotted seven licensed retail marijuana dispensaries opened up in town over the last few weeks. As the city’s total rises to five recreational dispensaries, it also added one medical option.