The Glenwood Springs City Council might consider reviewing history before it decides whether to spend taxpayer money on an economic development director.
After the mid-1980s oil shale bust, Garfield County made an economic development push that didn’t yield much quantifiable return. First, it paid economic development guru Charlie Mouser to come to the Hotel Colorado and give a pep talk to local businesses. Net gain? Zero, as far as I can remember. The economic development push did lead to a co-generation plant for growing tomatoes near Rifle, but that operation eventually went bust.
At about the same time, Carbondale folks (without taxpayer money) teamed with the Rocky Mountain Institute for something called the “Pioneer Project,” the goal of which was to help create a sustainable economy that wasn’t based on the Mid-Continent coal mine. For details, see the Feb. 25, 1987, Free Weekly Newspaper. After dozens of meetings with hundreds of citizens taking part, the result was a short-lived artists co-op called Artitracts, where Carbondale Beer Works is now located.
The town of Carbondale hired a full-time economic development director in the early 2000s. I’m estimating the town spent a total of about $100,000 to $150,000 on that position until the person resigned after a couple of years with no results. Toward the end of the economic development director’s tenure, the group she worked with thought that turning Carbondale into a polo mecca was a good economic development idea.
It’s never been explained whether economic development groups are supposed to use tax money to attract retail businesses so they can compete with existing retail businesses (ie: taxpayers), or attract factories, call centers and the like to create jobs, which may or may not pay enough for the employees to actually live in the area.
Glenwood’s City Council might think about answering these questions before it repeats the costly and time consuming mistakes made by Garfield County and Carbondale.
2011 was a wonderful year for community theater. In August, eight theater companies from across the state gathered in Salida for the 22nd Colorado Theatre Festival. Excellence in theater was on full display with actors from 15 to 92 years of age playing to enthusiastic audiences at the Salida Steam Plant and Event Center.
The Aspen Stage theater company performed “A Picasso” in the Main Stage Competition: a cat and mouse drama about art, politics, sex and truth with a twist at its climax. The production garnered awards for best play, best actor (Bob Moore) and directing (Wendy Moore).
As president of the Colorado Community Theatre Coalition, I would like to encourage readers to patronize the work of this outstanding theater company. The presence of theater like Aspen Stage in your community adds to the overall quality of life available to all.
Editor’s Note: This production of “A Picasso” was performed at the New Space Theatre at Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley.
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