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Pagosa Springs
Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Input sought for prioritizing community issues

By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce

How is Pagosa’s economy doing? If you look around at busy restaurants, lodging facilities and retail stores you would say, “Pretty darn good.” What about non-tourism-related businesses: services, health care, professional industries? Again, these sectors all look great because many residents cannot obtain timely services because industries are so busy. 

However, in order to have a healthy economic community, it must be a well-rounded community. This is where the Community’s Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and the Community Development Action Plan (CDAP) come into play. Every two years, the counties update their CEDS plans and, every five years, the CDAP plans. The goal of the CEDs is to assist people, organizations and programs that support equitable job and wealth creation. It requires alignment across government agencies, businesses, organizations and community members. 

This is where our public comes into play. Region 9 Economic Development District has a public input avenue where any of the afore mentioned organizations can view the draft CEDS plan and provide input. The Google document also includes the CDAP plan, projects that have been completed and have been taken off the list from the last publication, and the CEDS draft of what might be accepted by the commissioners. The document breaks out the community into its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It lists employment statistics and trends. The CDAP plan prioritizes various projects identified in the community as high, medium or low. These projects include housing, infrastructure, forest health, education, natural resources and much more. 

What Region 9 is looking for is your input. It will take time to review the document specific to Archuleta County. You can access the document and the questionnaire at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScQRi18BG1LUXT3OZhq30FVAKZB6yGO9xR7r7qDKIojdq4EoA/formResponse. This link will then take you to the document and, upon review, you can go back and give your input. If you just want to view the CEDS plan, you can go to: https://region9edd.org/uploads/1626Archuleta.pdf. 

How many of us even have an idea of what issues our community has prioritized? Do you know where roads and housing projects stand and, within those categories, what projects are identified? As business owners and residents, we should be weighing in our government’s prioritization of projects that affect us and our businesses. If our government officials don’t hear from us, then they assume that their decisions are spot-on and they move forward. Weigh in on being a balanced, forward-thinking community and review the CEDS/CDAP plans and provide input. We live and work here; let’s be a part of the economic development process. 

Is your business water smart?

In the next couple of weeks, the Chamber will also be addressing one of the concerns in the CEDS plan and an issue that is on the forefront of many people’s minds: water — or the critical need of it. Is your business doing all it can to help with water conservation and water awareness? 

We turn on the tap and — poof — water comes out. But at what cost? What are you, your business and your employees doing to help bring this issue to the forefront of consciousness? 

What even small practices can your business be implementing to be water conscious? Water discussions are happening all throughout the state, especially on the Western Slope of Colorado, which houses the headwaters of Colorado waters. Water, forest health, agriculture and public lands are all intertwined. All of us have a responsibility to be excellent stakeholders pertaining to this wonderful area in which we live. 

We’ll be giving some resources for businesses to refer to, ideas they might be able to implement and ways you could engage your staff. It’s not just about water conservation, it’s about being water smart. Stay tuned.

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