Yampa Building could become space for Craig’s entrepreneurs
The Craig Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the city of Craig, wants to remake the Yampa Building into something the community can appreciate and prosper from.
At the Moffat County Tourism Association’s Wednesday meeting, the chamber’s Executive Director Jennifer Holloway made the pitch to a room full of city of Craig officials to make the Yampa Building into a co-work space for Craig’s future entrepreneurs and other organizations that could further economic development.
“How can we support entrepreneurs and give them a space to work together?,” Holloway asked the group.
Her answer is to explore the idea of moving the Craig Chamber of Commerce and Moffat County Visitor Center out of its current location and into Yampa Building along with other interested organizations.
“MCTA, we’d want you guys there as part of this,” Holloway said. “We’d also want the college… getting a field museum started for them.”
“The main idea is to cohabitate the Yampa Building and get it occupied,” Holloway said.
As curator of one of the few federal fossil depositories of its kind in the world and a professor of Palenotology at Colorado Northwest Community College, Liz Johnson said she wants to utilize a space in the Yampa Building for a “discovery zone” for kids and school groups. Such interactive exhibits would be better than bringing actual bones into the space and could be a source of revenue, Johnson said.
“The closest thing you have to this is the Denver area. You’d be bringing in people on school trips,” Johnson said. “Can we put the dinosaur bones in there now? No, not right now because of the temperature and humidity controls we’d need to do.”
Holloway also wants to bring the state’s small business development center into the mix.
“SBDC would move with us there and we’d amp that up,” Holloway said. “That would increase our chances of getting grants for that building…. These are the grants they like to give.”
Internet is fast and ready to go in the building.
“We know that building has good fiber already, so internet would not be a problem for those businesses,” Holloway said.
John Husband, chair of MCTA’s strategic planning committee, asked what kind of condition the Yampa Building was in.
Mayor Jarrod Ogden had an answer. As a maintenance supervisor at the Moffat County School District, Ogden had the most recent study in his lap regarding the building’s projected costs and talked about the possibility of the city taking over ownership.
“A lot of what they said it needs is cosmetic,” Ogden said. “The boilers are probably the oldest thing in the building. Those are working just fine.”
Ogden informed the group the building has a new roof as of 2009 and no asbestos, “as far as I know.”
“Any that’s in there should have been encapsulated already,” Ogden said of any possible asbestos. “For right now, it’s turn-key ready.”
Holloway proposed the chamber start by sharing the $2,000 monthly cost of utilities in the Yampa Building between MCTA, the city of Craig, and others.
“We can’t afford to do this and take on all the expense,” Holloway said. “Somewhere down the road, we’ll need some commitments from all the others who want to be involved.”
Tammy Thompson Booker said the city of Craig could acquire ownership of the Yampa Building from the MCSD for about the cost of a meal out in Craig.
“The city would get it for $10,” Booker said.
But nothing is final and MCTA did not take an official vote on Holloway’s Yampa Building proposal.
“We aren’t voting on anything this meeting because it’s just a discussion,” Husband said.
Melanie Kilpatrick, president of the Northwest Colorado Art Council was in attendance Wednesday. She told the group the arts council would be willing to move into the Yampa Building.
“We’d be very interested,” Kilpatrick said. “It would be nice for the community to see everyone working together in one location.”