Meeker Moving Forward seeks inclusive dialogue about community’s future

MEEKER | Meeker Moving Forward ProjecWhat type of place do you want Meeker to be in the future? That’s the question the town of Meeker wants all members of the community to provide input on over the coming months.

Beginning during Meeker’s Fourth of July festivities, the entire community is invited to begin participating in a yearlong community planning process called “Meeker Moving Forward.” The goal is to determine what type of place people want Meeker to be in the next 10-15 years and to identify specific steps that can be taken to achieve that future.

We all recognize that Colorado is a desirable place to live. As Colorado continues to grow, communities across the state are facing increasing demands, shifting demographics and are feeling the influence of emerging market and economic trends. This project is meant to bring the community together so that we can work together to proactively respond to change and growth in Meeker, while preserving what we love about living here.

The town of Meeker recently engaged Western Slope Consulting (www.coloradoplanning.com), a family-owned and operated community planning firm based in Carbondale, Colorado. Western Slope Consulting will work alongside the town and the community to conduct an outreach and engagement process that enables people in Meeker to establish a shared vision and goals, and then to identify specific projects that can be implemented to achieve that desired future. Outreach for the project will strive to reach as many people as possible to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to chime in on Meeker’s future.

“ERBM is excited to participate in this important community planning update as we work closely with the town of Meeker to deliver quality local park, recreation and outdoor experiences,” said Sean VonRoenn, director of the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan (ERBM) Recreation and Park District. “We look forward to hearing from all segments of the public as we look to shape our collective future in Eastern Rio Blanco County.”

As part of the process, a 31-member committee has been convened to ensure that the project reaches people from all corners of the community. Committee members include civic leaders, business owners, representatives from key local organizations, members of the press and advocates for Meeker’s heritage. A committee kick-off meeting was hosted on June 18. Following that meeting, Teresia Reed, president of the Rio Blanco County Historical Society, said, “It is exciting to have the opportunity to look at our community from the perspective of so many different people. Even in the initial committee meeting, there were some great ideas and information that I did not know. Those of us who get to participate, will come out of it with a better education as well. Creating a plan based on this broader perspective is going to be a great undertaking. In the end it should be well rounded and easily implemented. Our community will have a great tool to use in taking action. The facilitators seem like they have a good grasp on this project and experience with other small historic communities to use as a reference.”

Through this collaborative effort, Meeker Moving Forward hopes to empower the community to manage whatever changes are coming in ways that continue to make Meeker a wonderful and unique place. The product from this process will be an updated comprehensive plan and land use code for the town of Meeker. With that in mind, the goal is to create a plan that leads to positive on-the-ground change and not a plan that just collects dust on a shelf.

To learn more about the project and how to become involved, look for flyers and handouts around town, visit www.meekermovingforward.com, follow @TownofMeeker on Instagram or Facebook, or contact Lisa Cook, Town Administrator for the Town of Meeker, at 970-878-4962 or lisa@town.meeker.co.us.

Special to the Herald Times

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