Oak Creek businesses eligible for grant funding


— The town of Oak Creek is one of 35 rural communities in Colorado eligible for $1.7 million in grant funding from the Rural Economic Development Initiative program.

The REDI program is part of the Department of Local Affairs and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and “is designed to help create diversity and resiliency in the local economy,” according to a news release.

Oak Creek businesses interested in grant funding for facility projects that will create jobs should contact Jane Blackstone, economic development director for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, by May 16 at 970-846-8011 or jane@steamboatchamber.com.

The REDI program is designed to encourage “job creation and capital investment in rural communities that are dependent on a single large employer, a state corrections facility or a single dominant at-risk industry,” the release states.

According to the release, REDI grants can be used for facility development and workforce training but not for equipment purchases, operating funds or marketing. Public and private can apply.

Facility projects must be associated with new jobs and bring in money from outside the local economy to be eligible.

Proposed projects also will be evaluated for their ability to “create diversity and resiliency in the local economy and the level of community economic hardship,” the release states.

“For Oak Creek and many other communities, economic development is synonymous with community development,” Oak Creek Town Administrator Mary Alice Page-Allen said in the release. “The REDI grant program has the potential to stimulate business investment, job creation and associated community benefits.”

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz


Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately, this is all too typical of OC government thinking which is that government is the solution. That a state grant program with already over $20M in applications for $1,7M in funds is what makes a press release.

Meanwhile, in March when I find that potential investors are being told they cannot come to Oak Creek because how the "college campus" limits potential locations, I then send an email asking about how they came up with that interpretation. My email gets no response for 19 days while I wait for that question to be heard the next planning board meeting. When it isn't on the agenda, I ask why it isn't on the agenda then I'm informed that is a question for the Town Board. So a question asked prior to the March 27th board meeting has to wait until the May 8th town board meeting to maybe get an answer.

And at the April 16th planning board meeting, it is revealed that the town government has decided that propane tanks are no longer allowed along most of Main St. That any change in use requiring town's approval is going to include a requirement that any propane tank be removed. The full story is that most of Main St is in a flood plain in which flammable and explosive devices are technically not allowed. And now the town government has declared that propane tanks are flammable and explosive devices and thus not allowed.

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if town government next decides that bottles of liquor are also flammable and explosive devices, and thus shut down the downtown bars and liquor sales.

The town government has long been infected by an attitude that they are like Sausalito or Carmel by the Sea and so can place whatever hurdles and added expenses onto anyone seeking to locate in Oak Creek. Maybe one of these years the Town Government will issue a press release on how the town welcomes investment and will respond quickly to inquiries with the intent of quick and easy approvals. That the town government will treat others as kindly as they treat themselves. The difference is remarkable between how the town has treated previous annexations vs how extensively they have greased the skids for the annexation of land the town has a contract to purchase.


Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago


That sentence refers to the distance required for a retail marijuana business from a school. The high and middle school are obviously schools. The required 1,000 feet distance from the schools ends at the gas station.

The town's retail marijuana ordinance boilerplate legalistic definition of "school" also mentions college campus. The Town Administrator decided that the Colorado Northwestern Community College has a campus in the community center building. Thus, extending the 1,000 exclusion zone done Main St past the intersection with Moffat. CNCC states they have a "service center" in Oak Creek and that their campuses are Craig and Rangley.

Several town board members have told me that CNCC having an office with six computer terminals and thus being a "college campus" was never discussed when considering the ordinance.

I found out that potential investors/buyers were being directed elsewhere when I asked a local real estate agent why the potential retail mj investors were so interested in other properties, but never talked to me. The agent told me that I was within 1,000 feet of a school and that school was CNCC's service center.

That was when I wrote a letter to the Town Administrator verifying that she had decided CNCC was a school. When she said yes then I replied why I didn't think it was a "college campus" and if she wouldn't revisit her decision then please put it on the agenda for the next planning board meeting. She didn't put it on the planning board agenda so then I asked why. She told me that it was because she hadn't read the second email since she "blocks" my email. Then she sent me a response saying deciding what was a school wasn't for planning board, but for the town board.

If she had read and answered my response then I could have brought that to the Town Board's attention in the March 27 meeting. Instead I had waited for the April 16th planning board meeting and then the regularly scheduled meeting on April 24 was cancelled. Next scheduled board meeting is May 8th.

Six weeks of potential investment lost among 6 vacant properties because of the Town Administrator's unprofessional behavior. If it takes the Town Board more than one meeting to deal with that interpretation of town code then soon enough those six weeks means missing this year's good weather building season. I am not sure the investment would have happened in my two affected properties.

A town seeking business growth does not "block" a commercial property owner's email. Weird part is that despite being "blocked" was that she sent me email and responded to an email.

A town seeking business growth does not make it so hard to get an answer to a simple question. Town could have said investment is a priority and so a special town board meeting will be held if that is what must happen to quickly resolve an issue blocking investment.


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