Estes Park EDC

Estes Park EDC Investor Spotlight - Bank of Colorado

By Christina Kraft

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 As an original investor, Bank of Colorado has been involved with the Estes Park Economic Development Corporation since its inception in 2013. Over the course of time, it’s been rewarding to be part of the growth and efforts of a visionary organization and resulting outcomes that impact the present vibrancy and future success of our community. We’ve transformed from a new organization seeking guidance from peers and like-communities to an established entity receiving recognition for our accomplishments and offering direction to communities seeking to create effective administration of economic health. These accomplishments would not be what they are without time and financial commitment from our investors and dedication of staff. I’m grateful and proud that Bank of Colorado has been part of this collaborative journey as an initial investor.

If you’re not familiar with the Estes Park EDC or its accomplishments, please take a few minutes to review the homepage (www.estesparkedc.com), specifically the document titled ‘Value Delivered to the Community’. This document is a powerful demonstration of what can happen with vision, dedication, financial support and collaboration. The choice to invest in the Estes Park EDC is a choice to support the wellbeing of our community and ensure we have adequate resources to address relevant issues as they arise. While an investment may not be tied to one specific outcome, the return, in my experience has been great.

While our past accomplishments offer much to celebrate, the present-day and far-sighted nature of Estes Park EDC’s role in our community continues. I look forward to our organization’s continued contributions to the success and well-being of our economic climate and quality of life in Estes Park.

Estes Valley Economic Development Strategy 2019 Progress Report

In 2015, Estes Park EDC and the Town of Estes Park completed a five-year comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) for the Estes Valley. The strategy was built on a foundation of extensive research and stakeholder input with more than 800 residents of the Estes Valley participated in the planning process.

Between January and April 2019, Avalanche Consulting conducted a review of information related to the Estes Valley’s performance over the past three years to include data analysis of demographics and economic progress. Estes Park EDC also facilitated four workshops with community stakeholders (one for each goal) in which participants discussed successes and future priorities. On April 22 and 23 of this year, Estes Park EDC welcomed Avalanche Consulting back for a three-year update on the status of the Estes Valley Economic Development Strategy. 

Economic Performance Highlights

In the past three years, every sector except for Retail experienced job growth. While progress has been made on the housing front (workforce housing being one of the strategy’s top three priorities), some systemic issues remain. Housing costs continued to rise and a shortage of workforce housing has resulted (in part) in a 13% loss of young families and a 7% decline in the proportion of residents in their prime working age (25-44 years old). These trends indicate that development of workforce housing should remain a priority as well as investments in amenities that appeal to a younger demographic, such as childcare.

The Estes Valley has made significant strides in implementing the strategy, and progress is visible on many fronts. Physical Infrastructure accomplishments include funding and plans in place for reconstruction of roadways under the Federal Lands Access (FLAP) Program grant, smart meters and other utility investments, increased downtown parking capacity and completion of the Estes Valley Community Center. New priorities include continued construction of the broadband network, securing funding for flood mitigation, continued investment in parking, transportation and smart systems.

Business Climate accomplishments include building height increases for workforce housing, density bonuses, improved permitting processes and increased shoulder season and winter events. New priorities include filling the Town’s Building Department Director vacancy, updating the Estes Valley Comprehensive Plan, reducing permitting and development approval times, updating the Town’s incentives toolkit, growing the Arts District and establishing an Estes Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation accomplishments include the Estes Park EDC completing an E-Center business plan, winning grant funding to launch the E-Center, hiring a full time E-Center Program Manager and local brewers and distillers establishing a Craft Spirits Association. New priorities include continuing to develop the E-Center, planning and launching a revolving loan program, encouraging experienced business people to mentor local entrepreneurs and engaging in a marketing campaign to attract freelancers and entrepreneurs to the Estes Valley.

Workforce and Education accomplishments include the Town permitting 200+ new home constructions since 2015, approval of new workforce housing projects, organizational cooperation to address workforce housing needs, a Childcare Needs Assessment, an Estes Early Childhood Education (Estes ECE) nonprofit and new K-12 programs like CareerWise.  New priorities include acceleration of workforce housing, a continued push for higher wage jobs, continued planning for childcare centers, and investment in high quality lifestyle amenities that help attract and retain talent.

To views the full report, please go to www.estesparkedc.com/estes-park-edc-research-papers