401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

DCED: Let private enterprise work for the city

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Dear Editor:

Hey DCED (Delta County Economic Development), what's up with the "us against them mentality?" You know, the bully tactics, ganging up with the "my way or no way."

On May 29, DCED vice president Tom Huerkamp, president John Gavan, executive director Stacey Voigt and member Scott Thomassen disrupted our public meeting at the rec center. The purpose of the presentation was to show how private enterprise could help with urgently needed revenues for our city. Just private enterprise doing what it does best without government slowing things down.

At a February budget session, the city manager explained how our city would be in financial trouble by 2020-2021 so we don't have a lot of time to get things turned around.

Mayor Austin and I were just trying to present the idea of a private developer building a water park in Delta. It was a Skype presentation by Mr. Dan Martin from Market & Feasibility Advisors Corp. in Chicago.

I was very excited the day had finally arrived. I had started working on this in February at the encouragement of the city budget committee. I have put the idea out to the people randomly and did some polling from high school kids to adults from all walks of life. Our business folks said what a great idea to boost business and get some of these boarded-up Main Street buildings going again. They seemed to fully understand the concept of private enterprise coming to town.

Let me reiterate, this will be done with private money by private companies, not the city, not DCED and not DURA (Delta Urban Renewal). In a DCED meeting on June 14 Scott Thomassen reportedly said we had to run it by DCED first, meaning the potential water park. Scott's comment tells me that he thinks DCED runs our city.

Why so combative, DCED? Why when our city has donated 50k to DCED to help our community develop new businesses does DCED oppose the idea of private enterprise coming into town?

I think the real shocker was the new executive director of DCED, Stacey Voigt, who just moved here from the Front Range. At the 29th meeting, Miss Voigt was quite confrontational with statements referring to a lengthy study involving community members who had not expressed a desire for a water park. "Now you're coming late in the game," she said.

Then came an interrogation of my credibility. Let me say this: if my credentials intimidate you, oh well. Again I have to ask why is DCED so confrontational? What is DCED afraid of?

So, back to the presentation. People loved the ideas being presented, which was what I hoped would happen. Open-minded people being on the same page volunteering ideas and connecting to the needs of the community. I had one citizen offer $500 toward the fundraiser for the feasibility study. On the other hand, people said they wanted to say more but felt intimidated by the hostility of the "hecklers." They did not know they were members of DCED.

All in all, some great community-minded folks came and the mayor and I are encouraged. For the first time since February when I asked the city if I could help, it felt like I was helping.

Financial oppression has a grip on our city and our mayor has a passion to overcome this, not with the taxpayers' money but ideas that will attract private developers to invest in our city. We don't have time for bureaucratic ongoing studies that don't bother to ask the professional business community how it works. And cost $$$$$$$.

If we still want to be that All America City then tell the mayor you support the private investor water park and remind DCED, DURA and city hall who pays the bills around here.

Delta is a great city -- let's work together to keep it that way.

Scott Schaible

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