County on board with governor’s economic development plan | PostIndependent.com

County on board with governor’s economic development plan

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Garfield County has joined Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s “Bottom-Up Economic Development Plan,” and would like county residents to join in the conversation.

Long-range county planner Tamra Allen this week issued an appeal to her e-mail mass-mailing list, along with a link, urging recipients to fill in an online survey from the governor’s office.

The survey is intended to reveal what ordinary citizens think is the best way “to rebuild the economy and create jobs,” according to a statement on the state’s official website.

“We’re in the game,” said assistant county administrator Dale Hancock, explaining that the county hopes locals will get involved as a way to provide the county and the state with critical information.

The survey, with explanatory information, is posted on the home page of the county’s website, http://www.garfield-county.com.

It is an 11-question document that explores such issues as a respondent’s understanding of Garfield County’s economic strengths and weaknesses; the kinds of economic opportunities available to residents; and a respondent’s understanding of the county’s “top measurable goals or strategies for economic development.”

The survey also asks respondents to name “one action that the State of Colorado could undertake to help advance economic development in your home county.”

The initiative is a partnership of the governor’s office with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and the Colorado State University Office of Engagement and Extension.

Hickenlooper hopes to get responses from residents in all of the state’s 64 counties.

The governor also is asking each county to submit its most recent economic development plan or proposals, and to participate in regional meetings as they occur.

Hancock said the county is currently working on an economic development program, and that officials are hoping to incorporate ideas from the state’s survey into the program.

In general, he said, the county is considering the formation of a county-wide economic development council, and a “branding” exercise to establish an identity that will be presented to the world at large.

“We want to decide who we are to those looking in from the outside,” said Hancock.

As an example, he said, the city of Boulder has a reputation as a focal point for the outdoor-gear industry.

“Why wouldn’t we be more attractive to outdoor industries?” Hancock asked, noting that the region boasts a broad range of outdoor activities, from rock and ice climbing to skiing, rafting and more.

And by taking part in the governor’s initiative, Hancock said the county will get a clearer understanding about how local residents view economic development.

jcolson@postindependent.com


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