Talking business in Soroco |

Talking business in Soroco

— The South Routt County Community Assessment report may be finalized, but the community’s work on the project is just beginning.

That’s the message Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak, who helped organize the project, is sending to South Routt residents to encourage them to come to a community meeting on Wednesday.

“It gives us a really good starting point,” Stahoviak said about the team’s report. “When the assessment team’s work ended … the community’s work begins, and that’s part of the obligation.

“We’re responsible now for carrying forward and making something happen.”

The community meeting will give residents a chance to decide how to move forward to implement the team’s recommendations.

More than 100 meeting invitations have been mailed to residents who attended focus-group meetings and other parts of the assessment process in August, Stahoviak said. Anyone from the community, regardless of whether they attend the original meeting, is encouraged to come to this meeting.

For three days in August, a team of private sector business people and public officials studied economic conditions and potential for economic development in Oak Creek, Stagecoach, Phippsburg, Yampa and Toponas.

The study is part of the Colorado Community Assessment Program, an economic study sponsored by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Six communities are selected for the program annually.

At the end of the assessment process in August, the team presented recommendations for how South Routt could best develop economically.

Among the recommendations, the team said the area should develop a shared vision with specific goals, work on building a sense of community and relationships, support a good foundation for economic development including workforce and infrastructure, and foster successful start-up businesses.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, community members will consider those recommendations and decide what steps to take.

“We will start trying to prioritize recommendations and create a realistic action plan,” Stahoviak said.

“And No. 1 is a big one, that we really need to create that shared vision.”

Another important decision will be whether to support a paid staff person who will organize and work on the recommendations. Stahoviak said that paying someone to move the process forward would be helpful “because volunteers are great, but volunteers only have so much time.”

Cathy Shipley, a field representative for the Department of Local Affairs who was on the team, will facilitate Wednesday’s discussion.

The South Routt County Community Assessment meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the second floor of the South Routt Community Center in Oak Creek. Copies of the final report can be picked up at the Routt County commissioners office and at the Oak Creek and Yampa town halls.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail

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