Anger and frustration voiced
By Mark Reaman
The Crested Butte Town Council will write a letter of concern to Gunnison County commissioners and the Tourism and Prosperity Partnership (TAPP) over what they perceive to be the sudden disbandment of the so-called Industry Subgroups that were formed to brainstorm ways to battle the coronavirus situation.
Council members Chris Haver and Candice Bradley, who have been involved intimately with the groups, were particularly distraught over the possible dissolution of the groups.
“I am very frustrated with what is happening with the subgroups,” reported Haver to the council at the June 15 meeting. “It was a good effort in helping local businesses and we were very proud of it. It gave businesses a voice to find solutions to this coronavirus situation. It was pretty special. And I am blown away that it just fell apart. Now all those subgroups are being combined into one and there’s supposed to be 900 businesses meeting in one call a week. It is very frustrating. As the county’s Recovery Group takes it over, we’ll see what happens.”
“TAPP’s job is not to just market the area but help us achieve prosperity, right? It’s in the name,” said council member Will Dujardin. “It seems that is an important part of their job. Does the town want to write a letter concerning the direction they took? The Industry Subgroups were an important part of the whole process.”
“The Industry Subgroups were super important,” agreed Bradley. “It got us all talking together, which hadn’t happened before in my industry. It was great talking to people in my industry who were all going through the same thing. The communication from the county is what matters. I am willing to see what the Recovery Group has to offer but the Industry Subgroups are the reason my business is still here. I found out about a lot of important things like grants and constructive ideas from the groups.”
“I believe both TAPP and the county need to hear our concerns,” said Haver.
Town manager Dara MacDonald said the Recovery Group has a lot of government planners from around the valley on the task force and they don’t necessarily have the same knowledge as business people. “I’m afraid the Industry Subgroups won’t get the same attention they have previously,” she said.
“I’m very angry about this and don’t even know who to be angry at,” said Haver. “What an asset we had—and I’m watching it disappear.”
“It will take communication to let TAPP know how important those groups have been,” said Bradley. “The attendees of those meetings are what made them so special. We were able to do this during a pandemic, so we should be able to continue it.”
Council agreed to have Haver and Bradley craft a letter stating their concerns and send it to the county and TAPP with the hope that the Industry Subgroup collaboration won’t fade away.
Gunnison County director of Community and Economic Development Cathie Pagano is heading up the county’s Recovery Group and said, “The Recovery team will continue to support and facilitate the work of the business industry subgroups. They have done incredible work for the past three months and our intention is to continue to support that work and support businesses during these incredibly challenging times.”
Pagano explained that Darcie Perkins and Ashley UpChurch notified her on June 10 that they would no longer be supporting the work of the subgroups. So her Recovery Group began working to transition the contact lists, meeting information, and business subgroup documents to new accounts under the Recovery team on Thursday, June 11.
“This week the subgroup meetings have continued as were previously scheduled,” Pagano said. “We did have a few hiccups with Zoom today but worked through those as quickly as possible. We will likely have some bumps along the way during transition but the team is absolutely committed to the business subgroups. We recognize that local business is the backbone of our community and we are committed to supporting their recovery and resiliency throughout the pandemic.”