Hayden banks on eco alliance

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— To join an alliance formed by the governor's Office of Economic Development, officials from the town, Hayden Chamber of Commerce and a local bank have banded together.

Hayden Town Board voted Thursday to join the Western Colorado Marketing Alliance. Gov. Bill Owens' office is forming the alliance that would actively pursue economic development leads for communities in the western part of the state.

To join the alliance, the town had to come up with $2,500, which will be shared by the town, the chamber and First National Bank of the Rockies.

The town and the chamber will pitch-in $1,000 each and the bank will cover the rest of the cost, $500.

"I am quite pleased we have some participants to move forward with the marketing alliance," said Town Manager Rob Straebel. "I hope we can market the community for future economic development, and we can start discussing what type of businesses we would like to bring to the community."

The town's decision to join the alliance came about two weeks after Pattie Snidow, director of economic development, business and industry training for Colorado Northwestern Community College, approached the town board.

Snidow is working with the governor's office to promote the alliance to communities in Northwest Colorado.

During the meeting, Snidow believed the town would be a good fit for the organization.

Snidow believes the town's airport and railroad access are strengths for the town.

The alliance is being formed because the state office believes for too long Western Colorado has not been promoted in the right way.

The alliance will work on leads that are geared for Western Colorado and the businesses will match the community's work force and infrastructure, Snidow said.

The alliance is intended to target manufacturing businesses for Western Colorado that deal with telecommunications, mining, electronics and agriculture and forestry products.

The potential business leads the alliance comes up with will then be sent to all communities that are actively participating in the alliance.

Karen Fox, chamber president, said she is excited about the town joining the alliance.

"If the alliance finds businesses that work for our community, it would be a benefit for all of us," Fox said. "Our hope is that this will get our name out there."

For the alliance to officially form, a commitment from 10 communities is needed.

Snidow believes the alliance is well on its way of forming because Hayden joins a number of other communities that have already committed to it.

Along with Hayden, officials from Cortez, Delta, Durango, Montrose and Grand Junction have committed. Officials from Craig and Meeker have also been approached.

Communities have until the end of the year to commit.

If the alliance is formed, each municipality will get one seat on the board.

The board will create marketing programs, budgets, bylaws and organizational structure.

The board would also approach the State Office of Economic Development for matching funds generated by the communities, Snidow said.

The money would be used to fund marketing approaches that include a Web site, special events, consultation visits and trade shows.

Who will represent Hayden on the alliance's board has yet to be determined, Straebel said.

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