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Economic development plan in the mix: public meeting April 25 in Trinidad

by Bill Knowles

TRINIDAD — “In order to continue to capitalize off the recent success and to map out a creative and competitive future, the City of Trinidad’s Department of Economic Development will begin the initial stages of crafting the Economic Development and Tourism Management Strategic Plans,” starts off a press release from the Department of Economic Development.

The strategic plans will outline and chart the necessary approaches the City of Trinidad and Las Animas County can undertake to make the area more regionally and nationally competitive.

These initial stages began with two community forums, the first of which was held at City Hall on April 19. During this meeting, discussion centered on host of ideas ranging from festivals to identifying types of business to attract to Trinidad. Tiny homes topped the list, followed by hemp cultivation which would bring in a processing plant to extract the oils from the plant and separate the fiber that could be used for a number of things from paper to building material. The oils can be used to make plastics, for cooking, fuel, tires, and more. The list includes around 25,000 different products can be made from hemp.

Eco-tourism, an industry that is focused on all things outside, from just walking a trail to bicycling, to backpacking and rock climbing, was also discussed. Currently, funds are being pursued to build infrastructure that will support this kind of tourism.

The second community forum will be held in the city council chambers at City Hall on April 25 from 3-6 pm. The public is invited. The more input from residents of the city the better the plan.

Both community forums have been designed to be identical in scope, presentation, and participation. Space will be given for participants to learn a little economic history and current economic status; and allow interested citizens to ask questions and offer input in the creation of the strategic planning process.

Jonathan Taylor, City of Trinidad and Las Animas County Economic Development Director, said in a press release that it’s an amazing time in Trinidad. “With the increase in private investments across the city and the notable successes such as the Artocade, it is paramount that the city, with citizen input, lead the overall economic development efforts.”

The creation of the strategic plans will be bid out to a private research company specializing in industry and marketing analysis. The plans have an anticipated completion date of spring 2017. Once the plan is completed, it will be brought to city council for approval and will be added as an addendum to the city’s new comprehensive plan, which will be completed and adopted later in 2016, noted the press release.

“A strategic plan will allow citizens, visitors, city staff, and city council to voice and offer their personal and professional advice on where the city needs to go economically. It will also provide realistic benchmarks and data that will assist us over the next one, five, and ten years,” said Taylor.

The economic development strategic plans will be a multi-month process of public engagement designed to give private enterprise a voice on how Trinidad and Las Animas County should best structure local economic development efforts.

The plans’ ultimate goals will be designed to create new opportunities and jobs within our area by broadening the economic base in existing areas and help support developing industries. The strategic plans will be designed to supplement and support government level economic development efforts requiring public sector leadership and participation to initiate, and private sector participation to successfully implement.

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