A Delta City Council work session last week was dedicated to just one topic -- a proposed water park -- although proponents insist they don't need funding, or even approval, from the city.
Although Mayor Ron Austin made that point clear on a number of occasions, audience members, including representatives from Delta County Economic Development and Delta Urban Renewal Authority, wondered aloud why the informational session was held during a council work session.
Senator Cory Gardner's legislative assistant and counsel, Brian Wannamaker, came to Delta May 1 to discuss rural economic development matters with local stakeholders.
Housing was the first subject raised.
At their quarterly meeting April 27, leaders from organizations across Delta County shared agency updates, financial status, current concerns and plans for the future.
Orchard City hosted the leaders this quarter at Orchard City Town Hall. Robbie LeValley, Delta County administrator, coordinated the discussions.
An upper midscale hotel may stop "leakage" to neighboring communities, but to really draw visitors to Delta, local resident Scott Schaible envisions an indoor/outdoor water park.
He shared his idea with the Delta Urban Renewal Authority earlier this month, as commissioners were discussing a memorandum of understanding with MARS Hospitality, the developer selected for the hotel project.
The business community and the public -- anyone interested in learning how we collectively can create a more economically robust Surface Creek Valley -- is invited to a community meeting on Tuesday, March 27, at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center in Cedaredge.
On Monday, a community forum on the "Effects of Marijuana on Our Community" drew a sparse crowd, but the topic of marijuana still figures largely in the upcoming municipal election.
The communities of Delta and Orchard City are both asking voters to consider taxation of retail marijuana and marijuana products, although the sale of marijuana is not legal in either community.
Colorado Stone Quarries is being touted as a bright spot in the effort to diversify the economy in Delta County.
"When Delta County lost hundreds of high-paying coal mine jobs, no one could have predicted that five years later sales tax would be up and unemployment rates would be low," Delta County Commissioner Don Suppes said at a Morning Business Buzz recently hosted by the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce.
The City of Delta has engaged the services of Better City to move the city forward on the gateway project. A name-brand hotel near the Gunnison River is the centerpiece of the effort.
The City of Delta is matching its $50,000 commitment to Delta County Economic Development in 2018, but refused a request from DCED to increase funding to $70,000.
DCED made the request to support salary and benefits for its new executive director.
The Technical College of the Rockies is the recipient of a $680,000 grant awarded by the Economic Development Administration (EDA), as part of the 2017 Assistance to Coal Communities initiative. This grant will support the start-up operations of the ENGAGE (ENergy - Growth - AGriculture & Entrepreneurship) Innovation Project, which will be operated under the umbrella of TCR. ENGAGE will provide the necessary entrepreneurial support to help launch new businesses in Delta County with a special focus on value-added food manufacturing, energy, and ag-related businesses.
Economic development was the focus of a presentation by Delta city manager David Torgler, who spoke at a Delta Area Chamber of Commerce gathering Tuesday morning.
In addition to providing an update on DURA (see related stories), Torgler talked about broadband and blighted properties.
By state statute, the Delta Urban Renewal Authority has 120 days to reach agreement with taxing districts being asked to give up sales, property and/or lodging tax to help fund a hotel project described as a "catalyst" for economic development.
With that deadline looming, the Delta County Commissioners held a special meeting the morning of Thursday, Aug. 17, to finalize a counterproposal that was presented to the DURA board Thursday night.
Montrose has a kayak park. Palisade is working on the "plunge." The City of Delta doesn't want to copy those ideas, but is looking for unique features to enhance its parks, open space and trails.
"We only have so many dollars and a small staff," said Wilma Erven, director of parks, recreation and golf for the City of Delta.
The City of Delta is lending support to Delta County Economic Development in two efforts to support local business development and entrepreneurship.
DCED is following up on last year's Blueprint 2.0 success and has submitted an application for a Co-working 101 Initiative offered through the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).
Hotel development along the Gunnison River will only become a reality if every taxing entity in the plan area is willing to give up the property, sales and/or lodging taxes that would be gained from the development.
City manager David Torgler laid out the numbers during a joint meeting of city and county officials last week.
The county commissioners on Monday approved an "incentive agreement" with hopes it will help bring a manufacturing company to Delta County and fill an empty industrial building.
MITI manufacturing, Co., which describes itself as a manufacturer of wheel locks and portable decontamination equipment, is currently located in Clifton.
The vision for the ENGAGE Innovation Center at Delta was outlined during the "Morning Business Buzz" hosted by the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce. The April 18 networking event was held at the Delta United Methodist Fellowship Hall, where the women of the church served a light breakfast.
Recent media reports have placed Delta County Memorial Hospital on the "critical condition" list, but CEO Jason Cleckler says the hospital is in no danger of closing.
In January, Steven Summer, president and CEO of the Colorado Hospital Association, was quoted in the Denver Post, saying as many as eight Colorado hospitals "could have sustainability problems" if the Affordable Care Act is repealed without a similar replacement.
The City of Delta has followed the lead of Delta County and is now a participant in the Rural Jump Start program.
The program was established by the Colorado State Legislature for the express purpose of encouraging economic development in the rural areas of Colorado.
A group of stakeholders has come together to bid on the former City Market/Chaco building at 124 E. 6th Street in Delta. The major players include Delta County Economic Development (DCED), Delta County Joint School District, Delta-Montrose Technical College and the City of Delta.
As Delta County and municipalities are drafting budgets for 2017, Delta County Economic Development is urging all its public partners to increase their investment in economic development efforts.
"If you think there is a need to improve the private sector economy, you need to step up now," Tom Huerkamp told Delta council members last week.
When an area like Delta County needs to create a new economy, where does it begin?
As Delta County and the communities within it look for opportunities to replace economic losses due to declines at the local, regional and national level in the coal mining industry, numerous organizations and governmental entities are offering businesses and communities help with funding opportunities, workshops, training and other resources.
In the mid 1980s, the City of Delta established an urban renewal authority for the purpose of renovating downtown Delta. Merchants agreed to give up their vendor fee -- the portion of sales tax collections they were allowed to keep to cover bookkeeping expenses -- to fund the effort.
Through the Delta Urban Renewal Authority, the Last Chance building at the corner of 3rd and Main was purchased and converted into a visitors' center that today houses the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce.
Delta County "really hit it out of the park," Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne said at a press conference in Delta last week. The lieutenant governor and representatives from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) chose Delta to announce recipients of the first round of the Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiatives.
Delta County is pleased to host Donna Lynne, lieutenant governor of Colorado, Fiona Arnold, executive director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), and Irv Halter, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs, who have chosen Delta County to announce the statewide awards for the Blueprint 2.0 Economic Development Initiatives. A press conference is scheduled at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 21, at Confluence Park, just northwest of the Lions Pavilion along the Gunnison River. The public is welcome.
In an effort to spur economic growth, improve the city's tax base and increase property values, the City of Delta has worked with Delta County Economic Development and county officials to develop an economic incentive policy.
Incentives will be offered, on a case-by-case basis, to new or expanding businesses.
Elected officials and senior staff from around the county met for a municipal quarterly in Paonia on April 29.
Economic challenges to individuals, schools and local governments from coal mine layoffs and closures were foremost on officials' minds.
During a tour of the Western Slope last week, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner visited with the Delta County Commissioners about federal issues impacting local residents.
Gardner told the gathering of eight community leaders at the courthouse that he wanted to hear about the "economic rut the American people have been in for the last 20 years."
The BoCC has recently gone on record strongly supporting the economic contributions made to the community by the Delta Correctional Center.
In a letter to the area's delegation to the General Assembly and to the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, the BoCC has endorsed continued funding of the DCC operations and programs and asserted once again the facility's importance to the community.
The Gunnison River is viewed as a major asset in an economic recovery plan developed by Better City. The consultant has been working with the City of Delta, Region 10 and Delta County Economic Development to identify ways to enhance Delta County's economic resiliency in the wake of coal mine layoffs.
Members of the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce and Delta County Economic Development were heartened by a presentation made to both organizations last week.
On April 19, Trish Thibido, DCED executive director, and Delta city manager David Torgler spoke at "Morning Buzz," a chamber networking event.
On Monday, the Delta County Commissioners reviewed staff reports that prompted a discussion of statistical indicators for the local economy.
They dug into numbers being generated by the health and human services department including the relentless increase in the number of Medicaid-eligible cases here.
With news of more North Fork Valley mine closures and losses of jobs and tax revenues, attracting business to the North Fork Valley is a hot topic right now. Almost 100 people packed the Paonia Library meeting room last week to hear about all the good things planned and already happening in Delta County.
A Delta County businessman with strong feelings about the future of the local economy is taking steps to try and improve it.
Mark Eckhart is the owner of Long Haul Folding Kayaks. As a businessman, he sees that a turnaround in the county's economic fortunes is going to require money. He believes he knows where some of that money can come from and has launched a petition campaign to get public support for the idea.
A proposal for boosting the local economy with a $49 million program supporting organic food production, building tourist amenities, and creating lifestyle enhancements to attract young entrepreneurs from other places has been finalized.
If accepted by the state, the plan aims to bring $1.4 million per year into the county from state government.
After months of stakeholder meetings and in-depth analysis, an economic recovery plan is taking shape for Delta and Gunnison counties. The plan was funded by a U.S. economic development assistance grant administered by Region 10, with partnerships from cities, counties and the Department of Local Affairs.
Through a series of economic roundtables across the state, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner is gathering input from business and community leaders. Thoughts from those meetings will be compiled into a "white paper" that will help shape policy to reflect economic opportunity.
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