Economic development program could help boost Routt County business | SteamboatToday.com

Economic development program could help boost Routt County business

Hayden and Steamboat Springs officials this week traveled to Meeker to be awarded economic development projects by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Two state-led initiatives aim to help local businesses and give the town of Hayden a facelift.

The executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade announced the Blueprint 2.0 economic development projects this week.

In Hayden, the program focuses on community place-making by engaging the community to identify local assets and then developing a vision and strategy based on those assets.

"I feel like Hayden is just starting on a more active journey of economic development," Hayden councilwoman Ashley McMurray said.

The town will work with the state to lead three community workshops that will help identify downtown improvement plans, town assets that can be improved and ways to reinvigorate public places.

"Making it the sort of place that makes it a great place to live," McMurray said.

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McMurray said the process will help guide the town as it completes a strategic plan that should be completed by early next year.

Ultimately, the goal is to have plans in place that the town can take action on while preserving the town's small town character.

"Change is inevitable," McMurray said. "We have to advance that."

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association spearheaded efforts to earn a separate economic development program that will benefit all of Routt County.

The program is titled Data Driven Approach to Economic Development, and it will help identify and measure key economic drivers that are uniquely important to businesses that operate in Routt County.

According to the Steamboat Chamber, this will help track business changes and issues over time.

An economic development team from the state, along with the Steamboat Chamber, will facilitate community workshops in Hayden, Oak Creek and Steamboat with business owners and community leaders beginning next year.

The workshops will help define the factors that drive business in Routt County.

"Working to diversify our economy is the key to creating a stable and sustainable economic future for Routt County," Steamboat Chamber economic development director John Bristol said in a news release.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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