Economic Summit opens this evening

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— More than 200 Steamboat residents and business people are getting ready to speak their minds.

The Economic Summit, which begins tonight at the Steamboat Sheraton, offers all community members the opportunity to voice their opinions and ideas about the future of Routt County.

"This is your chance to really help set direction for our community," said Sandy Evans, the new executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Judging by the number of applications so far, this year's Economic Summit will be the best-attended yet, Evans said.

"In past years, we have had 150 or so participants. As of (Tuesday), we already had 210 registered, and calls are still coming in pretty rapidly," Evans said.

The chamber is expecting more than 250 registered participants by the beginning of the summit this evening.

Those already registered make up a rather diverse crowd of business community members and residents from other walks of life, Evans said.

This year's event will be run using "open forum technology,"a system of discussion that presumably allows for natural, self-prioritization of issues and community concerns. The system was chosen to ensure a variety of opinions and ideas are heard, Economic Development Council members said.

Chamber and EDC representatives are excited about how many people have registered and who has registered.

One of a very sparse list of rules that govern open forum technology is "whoever comes are the right people." That means that anyone who cares about the community and feels passionately about how it ought to develop is a person whose presence is needed at the summit, Evans said.

It's not too late to register.

For more information, call the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association at 870-0882. Registration is $25 per person.

The Summit will begin today, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Steamboat Springs Sheraton.

On Friday, the summit will continue from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Sheraton. People interested in recording minutes for the community at the summit should contact Sandy Evans at 879-0882.

To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail bnadzam@amigo.net

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