Winter Park, Fraser approve strategic plan |

Winter Park, Fraser approve strategic plan

Hank Shell

Transit, attainable housing and broadband are a few of the topics Fraser and Winter Park hope to tackle together as part of the Fraser Valley Strategic Economic Development Plan.

The plan was completed as part of the Grand Profile, a countywide data-gathering project aimed at providing residents, businesses and local leaders with a comprehensive economic and community profile.

The Winter Park-Fraser Chamber of Commerce, Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District and Grand County Office of Economic Development also participated in preparing the plan.

Last week, the Winter Park and Fraser town boards’ approved the economic development plan, which identifies economic development related strategies and actions that can be implemented in the next three to five years.

“Based upon the work that was done I do think there were some really strong recommendations coming out of here,” Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin told the town board on Nov. 18.

The towns have already taken some of the actions recommended in the plan, including securing a sales tax increase to fund transit efforts in Fraser and Winter Park.

This month, Fraser voters approved a 1 percent sales tax increase, and Winter Park voters approved a 2 percent sales tax increase. Revenue from the increases will also fund trails.

Winter Park recently applied for a $1 million grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation that would go toward the purchase of new fleet vehicles, said Town Manager Drew Nelson.

“We’re very excited about that because we believe that we have a very good case for securing that grant,” Nelson said.

Attainable housing is another issue that communities are already tackling.

Winter Park recently completed a housing needs assessment and set a goal to house 30 percent of the town’s workforce.

“The needs assessment identifies a five year period in terms of needing to implement some affordable housing opportunities, and we’re approaching that from a fairly aggressive stance at this point,” Nelson said.

Fraser trustees have discussed conducting their own housing needs assessment in recent meetings.

Expanding access to broadband services in the Fraser Valley is another goal Winter Park is working toward.

The town has set aside $60,000 for broadband in its 2016 budget, Nelson said.

Fraser has not yet set aside money for broadband efforts in its 2016 budget.

The plan also recommends supporting existing businesses and strategically recruiting businesses to the Fraser Valley, a strategy outlined in the scope of a consulting contract Fraser recently approved.

Though no meetings have been scheduled between the plan’s partners, Nelson said the plan offers plenty of opportunities for collaboration in the future.

“We’re looking forward to seeing which ways we can implement parts and pieces of the plan moving forward,” Nelson said.

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.

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