Delta County Economic Development (DCED) is currently working on a transition into a new and improved organization, which is unofficially titled “One Delta County” for the time being. According to Delta County Community and Economic Developer Elise Casselberry, the organization has a flexible goal of being ready to launch by April 1.
Casselberry said she is leading the transition and that she has always been a partner and a resource with DCED and will continue to be a resource with One Delta County. According to Casselberry, DCED will continue to exist while One Delta County’s bylaws are being written and that the endgame will be a complete rebranding as DCED shuts down and One Delta County launches.
“This isn’t a takeover,” Casselberry said. “This is something that came out of a very heartfelt, thoughtful conversation out of DCED about, it’s time to do something different.”
The One Delta County board will seat an almost entirely new group of people from the DCED board, according to Casselberry. There are a few exceptions. “The county and the city were on the DCED board and still are on One Delta County,” Casselberry said. “The service providers like the hospital, school, library, they are on the DCED board and are also going to be on the transition team.” Other than that, Casselberry said there is possibly one person transitioning from the DCED board and that everyone else is new.
One change is that the new organization will invite town representatives to economic development plans and meetings. For example, Cedaredge Town Clerk and Economic Development Coordinator Kami Collins is part of the driving force, which will later connect the Town of Cedaredge to the network of economic development in the county.
Delta County Tourism and Marketing Director Darnelle Place-Wise said One Delta County would “cast a wider net” and include more businesses, all for the purpose of improving Delta County’s economic situation. “Delta County needs to see economic revitalization,” Place-Wise said.
Place-Wise also said that One Delta County will “include everyone who wants to be at the table” for meetings and planning, creating a stronger network across the county as opposed to individual plans within each town that aren’t related to neighboring towns in the county.
“The hope is that this One Delta County becomes the entity and those people participate in it, versus Cedaredge doing their thing, Delta doing their thing, Paonia doing their thing, let’s have One Delta County doing it for all the municipalities, and the people who participate in it now, they will sit on the board,” Place-Wise said.
One Delta County will be organized more by committees on particular projects, rather than “a handful of people doing all the hard work.”
One Delta County does not have specific plans in motion on ways to develop the economy of Delta County at this time, but according to Casselberry, they are going into the launch with plenty of ideas and new people with new plans.
“We really are working to get everybody aligned around the same vision, the same set of goals, the same outcome,” Casselberry said. “When you talk about economic development, it means a lot of different things to everybody, so we’re trying to get everyone aligned around that common understanding of what an economic alliance should be doing.”
As One Delta County develops, certain plans are already forming and the board is already setting goals. “We are missing what you would consider traditional economic development, which is where you are trying to attract businesses to your community and land that next big employer to create jobs,” Casselberry said. “We’re missing that piece of it right now, so that definitely is going to be a primary focus of this transition.”
When One Delta County is ready for launch, it will fully take the place of DCED. It will use DCED’s 501(c)3 nonprofit identification but will be a different organization by all other standards. Then, at that point, One Delta County will start executing the plans that are currently being formed.
“There’s so much to be done and we need all hands on deck to do it,” Casselberry said.