City and county leadership met together Tuesday as part of an ongoing attempt to unite the two forces as the area faces uncharted waters in coming years.
Much of the meeting was focused on priorities and the scope of the group’s work. Part of those priorities is to find a fiscally responsible way to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds and building resources in a sustainable way. A mission statement and vision was not completed by the end of the meeting, but several members chimed in with what could possibly become part of that vision. One agreement among the group is making sure that the area can grow over the next few years while also keeping its heritage and history intact.
“Sustainability has to be one of those values, one of those core pieces, of what we’re going to be doing here,” city council member Sean Hovorka said. “We don’t want to build something because then, as soon as we’re out of money, we don’t have the maintenance to keep it up. It doesn’t matter how cool it is, and how much income it drives, if we can’t maintain it, it’s just a flash in the pan.”
Before finalizing anything, the group decided to go out into the community and get resident feedback about what they want from these meetings and how they want to be represented. Because the city of Craig and the county are so intertwined, commissioner Melody Villard said that getting as much feedback as possible is going to be crucial in making sure every voice in the county is heard.
In addition to values, group members hopped between topics that they felt should be prioritized. One of those is housing, something that city council members and commissioners agreed is important. Right now, the city has around $860,000 set aside in housing improvement planning, which could go toward enticing or incentivizing developers to build homes in Moffat County and Craig. City manager Peter Brixius said that of the various avenues that the partnership could take, housing was one of his top priorities. Economic development director Shannon Scott said that the next part of the city’s housing assessment is the action plan, which will outline where developers could be most likely to want to build.
“We have potential opportunities for housing developments now that, say they fall in a county where they have city services, and they need maybe one or two things to get off the ground to get that project going,” Scott said. “How do we bridge that gap? Over the next, hopefully, four to six weeks, we’ll begin establishing those strategies. I think that’s probably one of our biggest focuses as part of that implementation. Because once we get those projects, we obviously don’t want to pull them out because we need maybe a sewer line or something. But it’s just kind of that crossover, and we’ve got to figure that out.”
In addition to housing, the group discussed potential ways to improve local assets including the Moffat County Fairgrounds, the local pool and parks within the county. These conversations, though preliminary, will continue over the course of the next year, group members said.
Currently, the group has agreed to meet every six weeks and will adjust their schedules if more or less meetings are needed as time passes. Their next meeting is planned for April 12, and it will continue to be in the city council chambers until further notice.