Silt, Parachute survey residents for economic development answers |

Silt, Parachute survey residents for economic development answers

Parachute and Silt have agreed to partner on a community assessment project that aims to bring new economic opportunities to both towns.

The two communities are participating in the Area Sector Analysis Process (ASAP), a community-driven tool that asks residents directly what kinds of industries and businesses they most would want to support.

The feedback received from residents in the process will be used to inform and decide each town’s economic development.

While the assessment will look at both towns individually, they will be footing the bill together to save on costs.

Silt Town Administrator Jeff Layman said he met with Parachute Town Administrator Stuart McArthur over coffee a few months ago. McArthur brought up the ASAP assessment, which Layman said he wanted to participate in.

ASAP uses national and local data to identify compatible business sectors unique to each community, according to a news release.

Layman said the Silt Town Board is focused on economic development and bringing new businesses to town.

He added that the project is cost-effective, especially in partnership with Parachute. As a result, each town is saving thousands of dollars in conducting the assessment.

The analysis is designed to inventory a community’s existing assets, such as transportation, infrastructure and workforce characteristics. It plugs the data into an algorithm, which will then use the results of the citizen surveys to create a list of businesses and industries that the community will most likely support.

McArthur said Parachute and Silt will become the first Colorado towns to use ASAP. He said he was looking for new economic tools when he found towns in Utah using it.

“I contacted them, because I saw they were doing interesting things in similar areas,” he added.

The process is sort of like a dating website for communities and industries, according to ASAP Program Manager Don Albrecht.

The data-driven approach guides economic development decisions for towns with evidence, and allows citizens a voice in the local stakeholder process, he said in the news release.

The community survey will involve a six-month process where McArthur and Layman will meet with the program administrators once a month. McArthur said the last meeting should be in June.

He said he hopes to better learn what economic opportunities could be available to help Parachute diversify and grow in new and modern ways.

Both Parachute and Silt have already invited their citizens to participate in the Community Goal Survey, access to which can be provided to them via a specific code available at both Silt and Parachute town halls.

The joint community survey is one more way the municipalities of western Garfield County are partnering on business and economic development efforts. The Rifle-area chamber of commerce was recently reorganized as the Western Garfield Chamber of Commerce, encompassing Rifle, Silt and Parachute.