Oak Creek Town Board candidate Dawn Smith is one of five running for four open Town Board trustee positions.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Oak Creek Town Board candidate Dawn Smith is one of five running for four open Town Board trustee positions.

Oak Creek candidate Dawn Smith says locals are key to business


Read more about the candidates for Oak Creek Town Board here.

Election information

The Oak Creek Town Board election is Tuesday. Everybody who requested a permanent mail-in ballot during the last election already should have received one. Those ballots must be turned in by 7 p.m. Tuesday to Oak Creek Town Hall. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Voters must bring a driver’s license or photo ID. The last day to register to vote was March 8. For more information, call Town Hall at 736-2422.

The way to spur the Oak Creek economy is right under the nose of local businesses, Oak Creek Town Board candidate Dawn Smith said. In order to boost revenues in the town, retailers and the town should find ways to keep the money of South Routt County residents in South Routt.

Smith is one of five candidates running for four open Town Board trustee positions. The top three vote-getters will win four-year terms, and the fourth-highest vote-getter will win a two-year term. Mayoral candidate Nikki Knoebel is running unopposed. The election is Tuesday.

“I’m not even looking to pull people out of Steamboat (Springs) or have tourism-driven stuff,” Smith said. “I would like to focus on having the people who live in South Routt spend their money in South Routt as often as possible.”

Oftentimes, residents and visitors to the Stagecoach area go to Steamboat for supplies or to spend a night at a hotel, Smith said, but keeping them in Oak Creek would bolster the town’s economy.

“I feel like we could do more to bring at least a portion of those people toward Oak Creek. We have excellent businesses in Oak Creek,” she said. “Our thrift store ... it’s the best thrift store in Routt County, and our coffee shop is fantastic.”

She said many local restaurants also are standouts and that if South Routt residents started turning toward them more, there’s no reason they wouldn’t thrive.

“Fortunes is a restaurant that should be busy every single day with the product they’re putting out. Their product is fantastic,” Smith said.

One way to drum up business would be to create business-to-business coupons, she said, or a deal where if residents spent a certain amount of money at local businesses, they would get a discount on water, sewer or trash bills.

“I would not be opposed to town-subsidized advertising,” she said.

Smith was appointed to the Oak Creek Town Board in November to replace Dave Fis­­­­­­her, who resigned. Since then, she has been a part of the Town Board’s policing and medical marijuana discussions, two hot topics. Smith said she thinks the town is heading in the right direction on both issues.

“I think the way we handled (the first medical marijuana dispensary) was good. I feel like we have written our ordinance, and it’s extremely complete,” Smith said. “It’s a very comprehensive ordinance.”

Similarly, Smith said the town’s new and only police officer, Lance Dunaway, is doing a good job and is a good fit for the town, a sentiment echoed by other candidates. Smith said that between Dunaway and summertime officer Eileen Rossi, the police force is doing well.

“I really, really like the direction our police force is heading in,” she said. “I think both Lance and Eileen are incredibly capable people in the job, and I feel really comfortable having them there.”


flotilla 7 years, 1 month ago

Excellent interview! You are doing a great job!


max huppert 7 years, 1 month ago

I dont shop in OC cause there is nothing to buy, if the prices were the same as Steamboat I would buy local but they are much more expencive. there is no reason for anyone to shop in OC, maybe you should spend more time thinking what people would want. Need more artisan shop owners that could sell there product online and use the local post office. The dinning in OC yea right. all the places have the same stuff and expencive and not very good, no ambiance .. The thing I do like is the coffe shop doing the local bands, good turn out and nice music. maybe should put in more venues like that. must have more fun ideas like strip club, grayhound dog race track, motorcross race course, let people ride horses into town and put up posts to tie up, try to get a trail from steamboat to OC for horse riding and dirt bike, snowmobile in winter. shooting range. but a good one with things that spin and manaquins and stuff like at the carnival. or maybe put in space for a truck stop..

Oh and just make the stinky weed legal in town, the whole medical things a joke anyway..


kathy foos 7 years, 1 month ago

Actually you are lame and way off base max,maybe if you shopped in oc. you would know what you are talking about.Its no cheaper in general in steamboat,especially when you pay gas and time to get there and the sales tax is crazy.Select Sooper has a 10 percent discount for locals buying 30 dollars or more,where do you get that in the big city?Maybe Craig is cheaper with more variety.Steamboat is not a bargan type place at all.


max huppert 7 years, 1 month ago

Sun are you on MJ I live in OC and love the town, nobody messes with ya in the OC and people mind there business not like SB. But since I am in SB everyday its alot cheaper for me to buy there, plus there is not anything intersting to me about the night life or restaurants in OC. At least Scott agrees with me on some things, but me and Scott are tight .. I would like to know your thoughts on how you can increase business.. Dont you like any of my ideas? Big BBQ in OC this summer, I think we will need some moon shine for it,, That would be cool also, turn OC into a shine town,, then we could have local machanics making rum run vehicles..


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