HEDC holds inaugural meeting
In its inaugural meeting Thursday night, the new seven-member Hayden Economic Development Commission discussed the need to make Hayden a more welcoming town for businesses and residents alike.
The group discussed the different ways it could create an environment that encourages business growth in town, such as giving tax incentives for new or struggling businesses, helping businesses obtain job-training grants to help them train employees, and helping businesses expand their markets beyond the boundaries of Routt County via the Internet.
Several members of the HEDC agreed that it is beneficial that Hayden is a bedroom community to Steamboat Springs because the tourism economy Steamboat generates helps Hayden, as well.
For example, HEDC member Don Johnson, who was appointed vice president of the commission later in the meeting, said that Yampa Valley Regional Airport would not exist without Steamboat Springs and that the airport is a valuable asset for businesses that could ship in and out of Hayden.
HEDC member Terry Jost, who was named president Thursday, said future growth in the county likely will focus on Hayden rather than South Routt because U.S. Highway 40 is a better quality road than Colorado Highway 131. Hayden needs to create an environment that is welcoming to new and existing Yampa Valley residents, Jost said.
HEDC member Jerry Cina suggested creating a more diverse group of businesses as one way to create a welcoming environment.
“Life is all about choices,” Cina said. “The more choices we have, the more benefits we will have. We need to give people a reason to stop here.”
HEDC member Gordon Dowling said he thinks most Hayden residents are “anti-growth,” and most of the commission agreed.
“You have to have growth, or you will die. You have to have growth to be healthy,” HEDC member Jack Giessinger said.
Dowling also said that Hayden could use more industrial zoning, perhaps in the form of an industrial park. Though it was acknowledged that many industries go where utilities are cheaper than Hayden, members agreed setting up such a zone would be beneficial.
The HEDC agreed to hold meetings at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of every month. One of the more important meetings the commission is encouraging the public to attend is a Feb. 18 meeting in which Noreen Moore of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association will give a presentation on “economic gardening” — how to cultivate a successful business environment.
HEDC members were assigned to terms of two, three and four years. Jost, Giessinger and George Wixson are serving four-year terms. Dowling and Johnson are serving three-year terms, and Cina and Herman Venzke are serving two-year terms.
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