Colorado Mesa University's impact on our local economy

By: Joseph Dames Email
By: Joseph Dames Email

Over the past years Colorado Mesa University has grown to fill a massive place in our community, and it's not just educating tomorrow's leaders. As it turns out, the university has a massive economic impact on our community as well. Every other year, Colorado Mesa University conducts an economic impact study.

Today, officials released their findings, which might surprise you. In the past decade Colorado Mesa University has doubled its economic impact for the city of Grand Junction, and one of the most important impacts has been on local businesses.

Bryan Miick, part owner of The Bike Shop, said "Every year the college is growing they're getting more and more students and when the students move in they bring in disposable income which they spend on eating out or buying stuff, in our case buying bicycles."

The study shows the growth of CMU will continue to beef up the economy and keep revenue high.

Diane Schwanke, executive director of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, said “When you have an institution that has a direct impact in buying power terms by its students, the institution itself, its faculty, and visitors of 195 million dollars which is huge and it impacts every business in the valley"

The university's growth has made grand junction a regional hub, bringing in health care and education, which are important elements for fueling the economy.

"Majority of the spending has been done locally and which over the past few years we have been facing tougher times and to see that one of our own is helping bring to provide an influx of revenue into our local economy is a huge deal" said Kelly Flenniken of Grand Junction Economic Partnership.

Officials say with the direct and indirect economic impact the university has on the community... it helps create a cushion for local shops.

"Helping our business every fall when 6 or 7 thousand students move in, we definitely see an increase from that, and even over Christmas break it definitely falls off a bit, and when they move back in it picks back up and you notice it" said Bryan Miick of The Bike Shop

Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster says it's a collective mission that helps bring the boost in our economy.

"People support us in a variety of different ways, the city of Grand Junction, Mesa County, the school district, so it's nice to be able to say it you know it is not just a one way street."

And the ultimate goal is to keep a stable cycle which will keep Grand Junction's gears grinding to have the local economy running at full force for generations.

"To produce a skilled workforce who can stay in our community that can raise good kids who are going to go again and can stay in the community and really be able to contribute to the local economy, sales tax revenue, and all the things that make a city work" said Flenniken

The total economic impact has grown from 144.2 million dollars to 351 million dollars in economic impact over the last 10 years.

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