Craig Press Editorial Board: It’s ambitious, but maybe the Moes’ wild ambition is just what Craig needs

A view from inside the Centennial Mall in Craig. The mall is the proposed location for the Yampa Valley Adventure Center, a project that Frank Moe envisions will bring jobs and tourism to the area.
File photo

We know it sounds a little crazy — trust us, we’ve had our own questions about it, too — but we think Frank and Kerry Moe deserve some credit.

How much have we been talking about this community needing folks to step up and be the catalysts that move Craig into the future? How much have we discussed leveraging our abundant resources and finding that elusive next step? How much do we all yearn to know the answers about what is going to drive this place into the next decade and more?

The answer is a lot, both in this space and elsewhere. We all know there’s change coming, but none of us knows for sure what’s next. Well, the Moes aren’t waiting around to find out.

They’re trying something. And that means confronting a fear of failure — charging through fear, skepticism and doubt. That takes courage. It deserves respect.

The Yampa Valley Adventure Center and Colorado Great Outdoors Experience Museum and Hall of Fame is a little out there. It’s extremely ambitious. It’s hard to imagine, honestly, how it ever gets done on the level that Frank Moe is saying it’s going to.

But someone’s gotta do something. Someone has got to step up, go out on a limb and say, here’s what I’m bringing to the table. Let’s give this a try.

First, let’s talk about a few facts that need to be cleared up. The Craig Press has reported extensively on this, but it still seems like there’s some confusion.

The Moes’ plan is to leverage tax increment financing made possible by the Craig Urban Renewal Authority to get this project done. That will not — we repeat, will not – raise anyone’s taxes. Period. It will not even utilize tax dollars that were created by anyone’s property, income or sales taxes except for their own property.

Tax increment financing takes the money created by improvement to fund improvement — specifically, it invests the amount of property tax that will be collected after a property is improved and the assessed value is increased into the development of the improvement itself.

It’s a little complicated, yes, but it’s simply the case that the money that’s used to fund these improvements would not exist if the improvements didn’t happen — and, again, it does not come from anybody else’s pocket.

There is no property tax increase on any property in or out of the urban renewal authority areas as a result of this project. The recreation center, the Health Services District, the school bond — all of these are completely unrelated projects. Nobody is raising your taxes to pay for a revamped Centennial Mall.

With that said, we want to applaud the Moes for putting in this level of effort. Frank was a politician, and we know that not every politician is popular with every one of his constituents. Whatever you think of Frank, one thing has been made abundantly clear to us: He (and Kerry) care about Craig. They want to make Craig a better place. We can’t see into their hearts, but we have no doubt this is the truth.

And if this works, they will do just that. Sure, we don’t know if a plan on the scale that’s been presented is feasible or workable, but we know that it’s a dang cool idea. Maybe if they build it, folks will come. And if they do, wow what a boon that would be to the city, in terms of sales tax revenue, jobs created, tourism boosted and general economic opportunity.

As a community, we should celebrate the spirit of the Moes in working toward this admittedly lofty goal. It takes big dreams to accomplish big things. Shoot for the moon, they say, and maybe you’ll end up among the stars.

We love it. We hope to see more of it. It’s going to take a dozen or more big ideas to build Craig’s stable future, and we hope this is one that works.

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