RANGELY I The Town of Rangely, Rio Blanco County and Better City LLC have been working together for the last 18 months to develop, refine and implement a strategy to attract private investment into the Town of Rangely and to create new opportunities for employment and economic prosperity.
These efforts have culminated in the identification of a development opportunity that would create new options for housing in the community, particularly for students at CNCC. The housing component is critical because CNCC is currently near capacity for student housing, and in order to grow programs as part of its ongoing commitment to the Town of Rangely, the college needs additional capacity for new students.
The retail component of the project is designed to meet two of the community’s most expressed desires: a robust, full-service grocery store that eliminates the need for frequent trips to Vernal or Grand Junction, and a family/young adult entertainment venue such as bowling, arcade, skating rink, etc.
Several potential sites have been identified within the town, and, depending on which location is ultimately selected, river recreation rentals such as kayaks, rafts etc., as well as mountain bikes could be added to help provide an additional source of revenue for the retail operator.
By joining these projects into one, each component will assist the entire development and will help create critical mass to ensure a successful outcome overall.
In other words, Town Manager Peter Brixius said, the retail and entertainment options will help recruit and retain students and staff. In turn, the proximity of housing adjacent to the proposed retail and entertainment center will provide easy access to individuals that will patronize the retail stores.
By themselves, any one of these projects would struggle in a rural community like Rangely, but by joining together and sharing overhead and development costs, economic modeling has shown that these projects are feasible and sustainable through a public-private partnership.
Brixius explained that the public-sector invests through responsible and well-vetted means to change the project dynamics sufficiently so that the project becomes attractive to a private-sector operator. The private-sector operator takes on operational risk and the public-sector benefits by adding assets and venues without paying for the entire cost.
The details of this public-private partnership will be determined in the coming weeks and months, but the project stands as a great opportunity to inject private investment into the Town of Rangely.