City and community business leaders gather for State of the Valley
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce played host to city and community business leaders for the annual State of the Valley luncheon at the Grand Junction Convention Center.
Organizers said the State of the Valley luncheon gives business owners the chance to meet with city and county officials in a more intimate setting to discuss issues and projects that are happening in the community that affect the economy.
“It’s kind of the one place that all of our businesses are invited to come to, to hear from not just the city of Grand Junction, not just the county, not just Fruita, but the entire community on the valley floor,” said Diane Schwenke, president and CEO of the Grand Junction Area Chamber. “It’s really a good place for them to look at what the government is doing. We all know government impacts businesses with what they do, so it really is kind of to provide them with information that they can use and take back to their businesses.”
The luncheon included a panel with leaders from Grand Junction City, Fruita City, the Town of Palisade and Mesa County. Those in attendance were able to ask the leaders questions about things happening in the community. One of the hot topics for Mesa County Commissioner, Cody Davis, was the county’s efforts to bring broadband internet to every municipality in Mesa County.
“We’re studying that area and seeing how we can improve broadband in Mesa County,” said Davis. “From our standpoint, what we want to do is invest in that middle mile infrastructure so that private industry can actually come in and compete right now. Because as it exists today, there’s not a lot of middle mile infrastructure that companies can tie into.”
Davis also said that the county is looking into ways it can put funding from the American Rescue Plan to good use. Some of that, he said is intended for the eastern end of Town.
“A lot of that is going to Clifton to our Childhood Education Center,” said Davis. “Clifton has a desert for childcare. Something like over 2,000 students who could use it, but only about 40 spots are open.”
One of the other topics that many city leaders addressed was the housing issue the valley is facing.
“Housing is actually one of the city council’s strategic initiatives,” said Grand Junction mayor, Anna Stout. “This is a priority issue for us. It’s something that we are putting money behind finding solutions for.”
Stout said the city is not only concerned with the amount of rental housing that’s available, but also the amount of affordable and attainable housing.
“Because we have people in rental units that maybe want to buy a house or are in a position to buy a house but there are either not houses available or not houses available in their price point,” said Stout.
Like any other community, Stout said we do have our challenges, but she feels the state of the valley is going strong.
“I think as long as we continue to cooperate among different agencies, different governments, involving our business community, involving our non profit community, the state of the community will continue to be strong,” said Stout.
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