Recently the Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) announced the 2017 EDIE award recipients, recognizing economic development excellence during its annual Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort. As the Board Chair of the EDCC, I am pleased to report that the award for “Small Community of the Year” was presented to the Estes Park EDC– on behalf of a town that sets its sights on building a more resilient, inclusive and vibrant community and economy after recovering from the devastating Colorado floods in 2013.
The criteria for the Small Community Award were: 1) Demonstrated support for economic development, including financial, board participation, and lobbying; 2) Planning and investment in long term development of the community, including infrastructure, permanent financing of economic development, and, targeted strategies to secure primary jobs, and/or 3) a special project or development during year.
Estes Park has demonstrated its support for economic development. Both public and private entities contribute to the Estes Park Economic Development Corporation (Estes Park EDC) and scores of volunteers help the organization in its economic development efforts. Estes Park is implementing a regional economic development strategy. Workforce housing, childcare, broadband and improving the development process are all being addressed as important priorities for ensuring the Estes Valley’s long-term vitality.
We were also pleased to learn that in the past year Estes Park has invested in new infrastructure to benefit its residents and guests. The Estes Valley Community Center; a new parking structure; detailed engineering work for high-speed broadband fiber, and a number of other private investments all demonstrate a willingness to invest in your community.
The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) is a state-wide, nonprofit organization dedicated to successful, responsible economic development. EDCC professionally represents the collective economic development interests of both the private and public sectors. Our mission is to be the premier state-wide organization for strengthening Colorado’s economy by promoting the highest standards of knowledge and skill for economic development professionals, educating local and state leaders about the realities of economic growth, and advocating public policies that enhance economic opportunity for all of Colorado.
Our 2017 awards reflected successes in communities from across Colorado. Other award winners were:
1) Large Community of the Year – Thornton, Colorado;
2) Company of the Year – Bonsai Design, Grand Junction, Colorado;
3) Volunteer of the Year – Gus Westerman, Dolores County CSU Extension Director;
4) Partnership Award – Pueblo Community College and Vestas;
5) Economic Development Achievement Award – Kevin Tilson, Downtown Alliance Director, Castle Rock;
6) Rookie of the Year – Karah Reygers, Castle Rock Economic Development Corporation; and
7) Chairman’s Award—Tom Clark. It’s the hard work and contributions of communities, institutions and individuals like these who make Colorado economically successful.
Economic development is always a long-term endeavor. As long as local government, private businesses and local volunteers remain committed to improving your resiliency and economic vitality, Estes Park should continue to serve as a positive example for other rural communities.
John Hall is the Economic Development Director for the City of Westminster, and Board Chair of the EDCC.