Photo by Scott Franz
Storefronts remain vacant on South Walnut Street in Hayden. The town’s Economic Development Commission and Chamber of Commerce have applied for grants that would allow their town to hire a community revitalization coordinator. Officials say the position will bolster efforts to grow and sustain businesses.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Hayden Business revitalization efforts in Hayden hit a snag last week when business leaders in the western Routt County town learned they would not receive grant funding to grow a creative district.
Leaders of the town’s Economic Development Commission and Chamber of Commerce already are pushing forward to pursue new grants that would be used to hire a community revitalization coordinator.
Commission Secretary Tammie Delaney said Wednesday that the coordinator could do for Hayden what Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett does for businesses along Lincoln Avenue.
“One of the things that I continue to see is there is a strong region of energy and creative thinking in our town, but there isn’t a point person to take the ball and run with it,” Delaney said, adding that she is a candidate for the position if funding can be secured.
The coordinator would lead efforts to implement a long-term economic development plan for the town and bolster communication among Hayden’s business and government organizations, Delaney said.
“As much as the volunteer efforts we have in this town are tremendous, there has to also be an accountability of someone saying, ‘I will ensure this ball goes forward,’” she said.
Delaney, who owns Yampa Valley Feeds, has submitted a request for $20,000 to the Gates Family Foundation and a $10,000 request to the Orton Family Foundation to fund the position. She said the town will attempt to raise $20,000 to cover the rest of the coordinator’s salary. The Gates Family Foundation is expected to consider the grant request at a board meeting next month.
The pursuit of the new position follows initiatives the Economic Development Commission already has taken in recent months to promote business growth in Hayden. The town last year launched a new website and has been using Facebook to promote businesses and community events. Business owners from Hayden and Steamboat Springs also are planning the Routt County Redneck Olympics, set to launch in July.
Chamber President David Marin said Wednesday that the number of empty storefronts in downtown Hayden is an obvious reminder of the need to continue efforts to foster business growth in town.
“On Walnut Street, there are four of eight storefronts vacant,” he said. “There are three open spaces out of 8 on U.S. (Highway) 40.”
He said the Chamber historically has represented between 85 and 60 businesses at a time. It currently represents 65. He said a community revitalization coordinator would be a valuable asset to the town and could lead to fewer vacancies.
“I hope that what this position does is to help organize the efforts going on between the Chamber, the city, the school district and the EDC so we can better utilize all of our resources to increase the economic stability of Hayden and this part of Routt County,” he said. “Hopefully, that will equate to more business opportunities for our Chamber members and more jobs.”
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com