Oak Creek candidate Dawn Smith says locals are key to business | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek candidate Dawn Smith says locals are key to business

Zach Fridell

she’s ready to join the Town Board after more than 34 years in the town.

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.

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"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."

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.

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