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Economic talk moves forward in Steamboat

City Council to discuss development goals, implementation today

— There's certainly no shortage of ideas in the city's ongoing discussions about economic development.

The trick, Steamboat Springs City Council member Jon Quinn said Sunday, is to filter those ideas and turn the best into action plans. Quinn said he hopes to see that process move forward in today's City Council discussion about economic development, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in Rooms 113 and 114 in Centennial Hall on 10th Street. Public comment will be taken at the end of the meeting.

"I think we've all batted around some good ideas about what economic development looks like, and now I think it's important to see if we can turn some of the best ideas into concrete action steps," Quinn said. "If we can come up with sort of a top-three list of action items (today). … I think that would be a real success."

City Council has conducted several public discussions about economic development in recent months in an effort to craft short- and long-term goals that can guide business-related policy decisions and stimulate the struggling local job market. The discussions primarily have been free-flowing and wide-ranging, as council members first sought to diagnose Steamboat's economy before determining treatment.

At a Jan. 13 meeting in Howelsen Lodge, for example, City Council set a framework focused on preserving existing economic drivers and assets, and using that foundation to improve business-related infrastructure — such as better broadband access — and government efficiency.

Quinn said City Council has asked the city's finance department to create estimates on what kind of economic development budget could be available, amid very tight times for city coffers.

"That's not an easy assignment — there's so many variables," Quinn acknowledged.

Roger Good facilitated the Jan. 13 meeting and will take on the same role today.

Good is a member of the Steamboat Springs and Routt County economic development cooperatives, the Education Fund Board and SCORE, which provides counseling for small businesses.

City Council will hold at least one more economic development discussion with Good, in addition to today's event, likely in mid-February.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com