Hayden Hayden leaders joined forces Tuesday evening to discuss the best way to revitalize the town. The centerpiece of their discussion was a report from the Community Revitalization Partnership.
Members of Hayden's Chamber of Commerce and Planning Commission bellied up to the table with the Hayden Economic Development Commission to review the report and any changes they wanted to see in it. The study was done April 13 and 14. It was a joint effort of the town, the EDC, the Chamber and the state Department of Local Affairs.
Chamber member Donna Hellyer wanted to focus first on some of the progress that wasn't mentioned in the report. For example, the Chamber has added flower baskets downtown and plans to put up banners. Its new farmers market starts Friday evening, and the town recently has approved incentives for businesses.
"Maybe we're not tooting our own horn enough," Hellyer said.
She noted that she thinks the town's welcome signs could use a fresh coat of paint and some bushes or flowers.
The report and its list of recommendations were sprinkled with what appeared to be unintentional references to the town of Ignacio. That frustrated some commission members.
Tammie Delaney, a member of the Economic Development Commission, said it seemed as if the state group put together the list, or "matrix," too hastily. Delaney also noted that the report summary included important recommendations that didn't make it into the "matrix" area. That portion listed priorities for the town, timeframes for their completion, who should be responsible and how to measure success.
"There's a lot of things in the summary which it looks like they paid attention to," she said. "There's only two references to Ignacio here. They need to go back and cross-reference because a lot of recommendations from the summary did not get pulled over."
She referenced a downtown strategic plan, Yampa River access, a hotel, broadband Internet technology and location-neutral businesses. None of those appeared in the list recommending action.
In some cases, those at Tuesday's meeting suggested, improvements to the town could be simple. Town Manager Russ Martin suggested asking students or town groups to decorate empty windows.
"It's a real skill to make up a window, and it would be nice if when we had empty windows, we had a group that works with the person trying to lease the building to fix up the window," Martin said.
That could be possible with the cooperation of building owners, others agreed. The report also suggested firming up a brand for Hayden. The Chamber has started using the slogan, "The Gateway to Western Adventure." The report suggested that Hayden work with the Colorado Tourism Office on marketing.
If the town brands itself effectively, Martin explained, it could work with that office to become part of national campaigns promoting Colorado. The town could provide images or footage from Hayden, for example, Martin said.
"If you brand and image it, it's easier for them to pluck it and put it into their commercials," he said.
Gordon Dowling, an Economic Development Commission member, mentioned that he's spoken with Brent Romick about getting the rodeo to Hayden for a night. The key obstacle, Dowling said, was being unable to sell beer.
"I wonder if it's not something we can get a temporary permit for," Dowling said. "And Brent Romick said they have a senior pro rodeo circuit now, and he'd like to do a weekend here and a weekend in Toponas, and it still hinges on beer."
Others at the table were enthusiastic about the possibility. Beer at the Routt County Fairgrounds would be a county issue, Martin said.
Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak clarified the policy in an e-mail. The county prohibits possession or sales of alcohol at the fairgrounds only during the Routt County Fair.
"At any other time, the sale of alcohol is allowed if the event sponsor obtains a Special Event Liquor License and complies with all the requirements for that license," Stahoviak wrote. "Since the Fair Grounds are within the Hayden town limits, that Special Event Liquor License would have to be approved by the Town of Hayden."
The event sponsor also would have to enter into a rental agreement with the fairgrounds, Stahoviak stated.
In promoting the town of Hayden, the group noted that everyone has to work together and really get the town's name and amenities out there.
"This stuff needs to be in every store," Chamber President Joyce Folley said, referring to a brochure with information about businesses. "The menus need to be in every store. The walking tour needs to be in every store."