Town, county awarded small community of the year in economic development

Photo courtesy Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation
Jeff Posey, Emily Lashbrooke and Todd Weaver accept the award recognizing the Pagosa Springs community as the Small Community of the Year at the Economic Development Council of Colorado’s annual conference on Oct. 20 in Pueblo.

By Dorothy Elder | Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County were awarded the small community of the year for accomplishments in economic development at the Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) annual conference in Pueblo on Oct. 20. 

The Pagosa Springs community was one of two finalists for the EDCC’s Excellence in Economic Development award, which is meant to recognize “outstanding economic development achievements by our members, organization volunteers, communities, companies and legislators,” according to the EDCC website. 

The EDCC is a statewide organization that promotes effective, responsible economic development practices across the state and works to represent Colorado’s public and private sector interests, according to the website.

Pagosa Springs was chosen because of its work in creating necessary infrastructure in place to support an economic development entity, the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (PSCDC), according to the award’s description. 

In addition, the community was recognized because of its work in expanding broadband, securing funding to create redundant fiber loops in the downtown core and extending coverage into the more rural areas, Emily Lashbrooke, PSCDC executive director, highlighted. 

“The desire for faster, better internet unifies people like few other things,” Jeff Posey, member of the Pagosa Springs Town Council who attended the awards ceremony, wrote in an email to The SUN. “This award is in recognition of efforts by the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (CDC) to build a powerful coalition that includes the Town, County, and other regional entities to bring broadband to our community. 

“It’s an example of what happens when more hands lift up than pull down. The reality of fast, reliable, affordable internet in Pagosa Springs is growing near, thanks in large part to the CDC.”

The award also recognized the community’s work in securing workforce housing, noting land purchases, donations and additional assistance by the county, town and PSCDC.

Lashbrooke noted that the award represents the partnerships and collaboration between the three entities, which she views as essential to the success of the community’s economy.

“Archuleta County was thrilled that the [EDCC] awarded Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs with the 2022 EDIE Award for ‘Small Community of the Year’’ recognizing excellence in economic development,” Archuleta County Attorney Todd Weaver, who attended the ceremony, wrote in an email to The SUN. “… Archuleta County greatly values its relationship with the Town of Pagosa Springs and the CDC, without which this award would not have been possible.”

Lashbrooke stated that she is excited for the statewide recognition that the award brings.

“It just amplifies that Pagosa Springs is really in the state of Colorado, whether people want to realize that or not,” Lashbrooke said. “And we are excelling and doing great things here, and it will bring recognition for the entire year.”