Colowyo announces extending life of mine several decades during State of the Community address

Clay Thorp | April 4, 2019 | Craig Press

Craig and Moffat County elected officials gave residents a vision of the future Monday, April 1, at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.

The annual State of the Community address unveiled new logos from the Craig Chamber of Commerce consistent across organizations — Love Moffat County and Connect Moffat County — incorporating the area’s iconic topography.

County and city officials gave residents updates on economic development initiatives and legislation from Denver relevant to the Yampa Valley. Industry representatives were also on hand from Memorial Regional Health, Colowyo Coal Mine, Yampa Valley Bank, and Tri-State Generation and Transmission.

“We want to build a strong economy that contributes to community and business success,” said Jennifer Holloway, executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

Holloway’s vision of new branding includes a mission to instill community pride in area residents who spread that pride and love of their community to visitors and other residents.

“That’s my main goal as a chamber director is to put out a sense of community pride,” Holloway said.

Moffat County Commissioner Ray Beck said he’s fully supportive of the county’s new branding effort during his state of the county speech — which centered around the projects and legislation close to Beck’s heart.

“We will not support legislation that further restricts our Second Amendment rights,” Beck said of a so-called “red flag bill” awaiting the governor’s signature that would allow a family member or law enforcement officer to petition for a person’s guns to be confiscated.

Mayor John Ponikvar — who lost his bid for re-election to Jarrod Ogden, according to unofficial voting totals — gave residents his state of the city address, reporting that the city is financially sound after passage of a sales tax and is ready to adapt to the future.

“Our future is changing,” Ponikvar said. “We will not be afraid of that change. We will adapt to it.”

Tom Kleinschnitz, Moffat County’s tourism director, unveiled a new 30-second ad that will run across the state and the region. Kleinschnitz said Northwest Colorado saw some $32.2 million in gross travel spending in 2017.

“We’re doing quite well with our industry, but Moffat County needs to catch up,” Kleinschnitz said of the county’s tourism industry.

Andy Daniels, CEO of Memorial Regional Health; Dave Fleming, with Yampa Valley Bank; Drew Kramer, with Tri-State Generation and Transmission; and Juan Garcia, with Colowyo Mine, also gave residents an update on the state of industry in Craig and Moffat County.

Garcia told attendees Colowyo’s new Collom Pit project will extend the life of the mine by 30 to 50 years.

“Were right on the verge of commissioning and finalizing construction,” Garcia said.

Awards were also presented to the following individuals at Monday night’s State of the Community event.

• Ambassador of the Year – Kristen Nichols

• Business of the Year – Candlewood Suites

• Business Person of the Year – Amy and Vic Updike

• Community Recognition Award – Boys & Girls Club