Hayden moving forward with downtown parking, signage studies

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— The town of Hayden is putting more money behind a slew of new economic development efforts.

Earlier this month, the Town Council backed and dedicated some funding toward two separate studies that will examine the town's future parking needs in the downtown district as well as wayfinding signage.

A new website for the town also is under development and will receive funding.

Tammie Delaney, a Hayden business owner who serves on the town's economic development commission, said that to some residents, it may not seem like the downtown area has a problem now, but the study will account for future growth.

“There's a potential for a new business to be located at Walnut Street and U.S. (Highway) 40. If that comes in, parking could be an issue. Now is the time to address it while we’re in a phase as we grow.”

She said the studies are important as the town continues efforts to try and bring more businesses into the downtown area.

“From an economic development standpoint, we think both items are very important,” Delaney said.

She pointed to a town such as Fruita as an example of how quickly new lodging and businesses can change the feel of a town and bring in more traffic.

“When two hotels came into Fruita, suddenly, agriculture heritage tourism and mountain biking took off,” she said. “We see agriculture tourism in Hayden as having tremendous potential. That's where this is leading. How do we use an asset that right now is somewhat of a diamond in the rough? People want to come here, and we want to make sure our downtown area is one we can accommodate more businesses in.”

Delaney also mentioned the book "Nothing Daunted," a historical account of two women who left New York to be schoolteachers in Elkhead settlement, as an example of something that already is bringing travelers to Hayden.

The parking study and the signage study are set to be completed this spring and summer.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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