Happy Fall! I am writing this update from Region 9’s new office space in the Durango Tech Center. Since Team 9 works hard to build the sustainability of all our business clients, it made sense to look at our own organization’s future by taking the big step from renting to owning our office space.
One of my favorite quotes is “Change should never be the result of apathy”. This quote recognizes that change happens regardless, but as much as possible, we need to plan for and direct our change. This planning for change is even more important with the region’s ongoing fires and overarching drought conditions. It has been a tough year. The good news is that the impacts of fire are relatively short-term. We have just released the Economic Impact of Colorado Wildfires Report completed by Region 9 Board member and Fort Lewis College Professor, Dr. Robert Sonora. The report is available on our website www.scan.org.
I also want to highlight some amazing work being done in San Juan County to manage their change. After the Gold King Mine Spill in 2015, Region 9 received grant funds from the Economic Development Administration, with community match, for a 2-year Recovery Coordinator position. This Coordinator is responsible for assisting businesses and helping the community navigate their transition to a long-term Superfund site. Little did we know that we would see a low snow winter, fire and resulting debris flow, highway closures and drought recovery for San Juan County. Melanie Russek is our Coordinator and brings an amazing array of energy, good instinct and plain old hard work to the position. An example of her initiative is highlighted in this newsletter. With Russek’s help, Silverton was just named as a Certified Business Community, part of a three-year State pilot program.
Russek’s position is also helping to revitalize the county-level economic development group, San Juan Development Association (SJDA), with additional goals of developing a resiliency plan, tourism diversification strategies to mitigate job loss, and creating resiliency for future disasters.
Laura Lewis Marchino