RANGELY | The Rio Blanco County Economic Development Department and The Town of Rangely recently partnered with the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) and students from the Masters of the Environment program at the University of Colorado Boulder to diversify and strengthen the local economy by elevating Western Rio Blanco County’s outdoor recreation industry.
Students presented local officials with a strategy to make Rangely “The Tire Sports Getaway of Colorado.” This project was made possible by the “Grow Your Outdoor Recreation Industry” Blueprint 2.0 Initiative with the goal of providing technical assistance to enhance rural economic development strategies across the state.
“Blueprint 2.0 is designed to provide rural communities with a unique approach to economic development, giving rural communities access to experts and technical assistance on proven economic development strategies,” said Danielle Lendriet, program manager for Blueprint 2.0. “It’s especially gratifying to be providing these services in coordination with a talented group of faculty and students from CU, coupled with the participation and enthusiasm of the Rangely community and its stakeholders, our hope is the ideas in the proposal will be a catalyst for future economic growth.”
The CU team members visited the Rangely area multiple times during the project and met with an array of stakeholders and community members. Through research, focus groups, surveys, and feedback from outside outdoor recreation partners, a comprehensive strategy was developed. “Based on the Blueprint 2.0 report, Rangely plans to capitalize on the trails and recreation resources we already have, while planning sustainable development of new trails, routes and capacity to welcome and encourage all the types of tires that will flock to Rangely,” states Jocelyn Mullen, Recreation Development Coordinator for the Town of Rangely. “While this Blueprint 2.0 effort emphasizes the tire-based activities Rangely has to offer, we are also reminded of the many water-based recreation opportunities on Kenney Reservoir and the White River, as well as hunting, fishing, hiking and the living history waiting to be discovered on the public lands that surround Rangely.”
The final report presented by the CU team includes current economic conditions of Rangely, case studies of like communities and recommendations for the future. Recommendations include trail development to capitalize on already existing multi-use infrastructure and festival development as a first step to utilizing the trail system(s) and promotion of the area. “The services provided to us through Blueprint 2.0 are of utmost importance as we balance fiscal constraints and the need to continually develop and diversify our economy. We value the partnerships formed during this process and are anxious to begin implementation of this plan” states Katelin Cook, Economic Development Coordinator for Rio Blanco County. A copy of the report is available online at http://rbc.us/248/Economic-Development.
Special to the Herald Times