Up and Down El Rio Blanco: Keep the momentum

“I think we have momentum,” Katelin Cook said after a recent public meeting about economic development in Rio Blanco County.
“The rubber meets the pavement in the way the information is dealt with; is it ignored or embraced?” asked Peter Brixius, Rangely town manager, after a public meeting concerning the same topic.
I agree with both Katelin and Peter and believe it is up to all of us to keep the “momentum” going, “embrace” our circumstances and put the rubber to the pavement.
The objective of the public meetings was to identify economic goals and strategies for our county, submit them to the governor’s office and incorporate them into regional plans, which together will assist in developing an overall statewide economic development plan.
The meetings brought together the most influential people in our county: town managers, county commissioners, chamber members, school board members (guardians of our most important asset), government officials, attorneys, business owners and community members.
The issues discussed in both towns are similar. Peter was quoted as saying, “These strategies and goals are nothing new, they have been talked about for years and are the right ones to talk about.”
Peter is right, the issues haven’t changed and I believe part of the reason is that we have spent a lot of time talking about them and not enough time accepting them and working on solutions. Right now we have a great opportunity to change that and do something about it.
Our issues may not have changed but it is time to meet the challenge to maximize our assets and address them as a united front. I’ve written about our assets before. We (Rio Blanco County residents) live in a great place. We are united by a river that runs from one end of our county to the other, through both communities. We have a wilderness known as the “cradle” — or the beginning of — wilderness areas. We have the world’s largest migrating elk herd and world-class fishing. We have coal, oil, natural gas and the world’s largest deposits of oil shale. We have the world’s largest, most profitable corporation working in our county and many other successful businesses. We also have the greatest people in the world, with some of the greatest minds in the world.
Now let’s unite as a county and use those great minds to market and maximize our assets.
In my humble opinion, we just need to keep the momentum going and put the rubber to the pavement, as Katelin and Peter would say. I believe it is up to us to come together and work on solving our challenges and doing what is right for all of us. Let’s start taking pride in our county and make it a better place for our greatest asset — the residents who call Rio Blanco County “home.”