Carbondale to stick with Economic Development Partnership
CARBONDALE – The Carbondale Board of Trustees and its economic development advisors agreed Tuesday night to keep working together to find ways to bring more business to town.
Exactly how that will be accomplished, however, remains up in the air.
The two key members of the Carbondale Economic Development Partnership, consultant Lani Kitching and businessman Bill Grant, suggested on Tuesday that one option might be to work with the city of Glenwood Springs.
The trustees agreed, and told Kitching and Grant that the CEDP has been doing good work so far.
“I like the outreach that’s occurred since the board resigned en mass,” said Trustee Allyn Harvey.
Harvey was referring to the resignation of several CEDP board members following controversial election outcomes earlier this year.
The departed board members included outspoken supporters of the defeated Village at Crystal River project Dave Weimer, Frank McSwain Jr., Debbie Patrick and Bill Lamont.
Other former CEDP board members included local residents Brian Leasure and Bob Schoofs.
According to Kitching, the current board is made up of herself as president and Grant as finance director, along with Randi Lowenthal, Alice Laird, Deb Collier and Chris Chacos, with others acting in advisory and support capacities.
The outreach Harvey mentioned is a website that the CEDP has put up, although Grant told the trustees that the site is not yet half complete. For example, links to the Garfield County and state of Colorado economic development web pages are not currently active.
Harvey, who is the current liaison from the Carbondale Trustees to the CDEP, wondered whether the website is the best use of the $45,000 in grants – $20,000 from the town, $25,000 from Garfield County – that the CEDP has been working with for the past year.
Harvey noted that the website appears to be suffering from low traffic.
Trustee Frosty Merriott, also skeptical about the website, wondered if the town ought to simply conclude, “Hey, we made a mistake with this website” and abandon it.
But Trustee Elizebeth Murphy, the former CEDP liaison, urged her fellow trustees to permit the CEDP to keep working on the website, and predicted that the traffic will pick up once the site is completed and linked to other economic development sites.
She also endorsed Kitching’s suggestion that Carbondale and Glenwood Springs should consider forming an economic development partnership, much as towns in the western part of Garfield County have done.
“It’s slow, it’s difficult, and it’s time consuming,” she said of economic development efforts.
The other trustees agreed in general, and the town’s staff plans to set up a meeting with Glenwood Springs officials to discuss the idea.
At the end of the discussion, Grant pointedly asked Mayor Stacey Bernot about the town’s official attitude about economic development in general and the CEDP’s work specifically.
“Could we interpret this as positive?” Grant asked.
“Absolutely,” responded Bernot.
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