Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership works on business plan

Now faced with the arduous task of developing a business model appropriate to a showcase project and a living, breathing feasibility study for a Phase II commercial application, the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) met Monday in the office of Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon to brainstorm a definitive direction.

Inviting several community members and supporters to the meeting, the GGP hoped to solicit ideas and strategy for the development of a sound business plan. With Bill Nobles, Archuleta County Extension Agent in attendance, along with local businessmen Ray Ball, Don Coughlin and Guiseppe Margiotta, the GGP had ample expertise to assist in the pursuit of laying the groundwork for drafting a plan.

“You need to develop a business plan,” Ball said, “And first, you need to focus on product.”

Indeed, the group spent a majority of the session circulating ideas about what products Phase I of the project should grow inside the greenhouses. As to how the group would arrive at a product with the best yield and the highest return on investment, Nobles advised, “I think what you need to do is make a list, submit that list, and then get some feedback.”

Primary to the considerations of greenhouse produce by the GGP are items that could potentially be branded as uniquely grown in Pagosa Springs. Think Chimayo Chile or Olathe Corn and it becomes apparent the direction the GGP would like to head in deciding what products should be developed in the greenhouses. With notions as diverse as wholly organic produce, hydroponic growing and aquaculture, the GGP looks to proceed beyond the conceptual phase into the technical details that would determine what direction the project will ultimately take.

With technical aspects of the project taking shape, the GGP is looking to form subcommittees over the next few weeks to hammer out the details. Addressing issues of renewable utility and infrastructure requirements, marketing, regulatory and educational considerations, GGP subcommittees would hopefully bring the kind of technical expertise to the table that could lift the project past ideas to a workable plan.

Other subcommittees working with the GGP would assist with necessary fund-raising, as well as soliciting partners in the project — anyone who would like to donate time, services and equipment.

GGP committee member Michael Whiting reported survey work on the project site is underway and should be complete by the end of this month. Furthermore, GGP member Sheila Berger reported at the meeting that an initial assay of San Juan River water (donated by PAWSD for project irrigation), “looks good. It will require a filtration system for irrigation.”

Confident in the viability of the project, the GGP has planned a groundbreaking ceremony in Centennial Park on Thursday, April 16 for cutting a ribbon on the planned site to kick off area Earth Week festivities. The GGP also announced that their website will be launched to coincide with the groundbreaking. Until the website goes live, individuals interested in helping the GGP move forward with the geothermal greenhouse project can contact GGP Committee Chair Tamra Allen by e-mail at tamra79@aol.com.

jim@pagosasun.com