As I think back to the events that have unfolded over the past couple weeks I think of sand slowly slipping towards the center of an hour glass. Two weeks ago Thursday evening, before I left on vacation, I attended a College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum board meeting where two presentations were made. The event was reported in last week's Sun Advocate by Richard Shaw.
I left that meeting with more optimism and excitement about marketing our community than any time in the three years that I have lived here.
I have attended numerous meetings where marketing or branding was the focus, including efforts by the Travel Bureau, Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce, Price City Council, Carbon County Commission, College of Eastern Utah, Prehistoric Museum, Nine Mile Canyon, just to name a few. Ideas have been presented and much progress has been made over the years. What I see now is all the hard work that has been made, all the ideas that have been thrown out on tables, all the concepts, discussions, and plans now have a chance to come together to take our city and county to the next level.
The two presentations were made by the Carbon County Small Business Alliance, a group of seven Price businessmen and the Travel Bureau, that scheduled a marketing and branding proposal by a creative group called Think Tank. Although their presentations were not discussed or coordinated prior to the museum board meeting, they were very closely related. According to Sam Quigley, chairman of the museum board, the long and short of it is that the museum is the center of the city and we need to develop ideas to get more people off the highway and into the area's shopping districts. The way to do this is through the museum. The whole concept was signage and bringing exposure to the significant attractions in the area.
Over the past eight plus years Kathy Hanna-Smith has headed the Travel Bureau and tourism efforts. Under her leadership, committees have completed a variety of marketing projects, including printed brochures, a wide array of maps, four new dinosaur-themed billboards erected along State Routes. Over the past few years they have identified the top 10 things to do in Castle Country (Carbon and Emery counties). Not surprising the top two attractions are dinosaurs and rock art. These two features happen to be major themes at the Prehistoric museum.
When I made reference to the hour glass earlier my thoughts included all the groundwork that has been done up to this point. The key behind these efforts is volunteers. One good example was last weekend's efforts in Nine Mile Canyon where an estimated 80 people gathered with the BLM to put in fences, build trails and take these projects to the next level. Volunteers have driven most of the efforts already made.
Just as sand gravitates to the center of the glass, so do the numerous projects and efforts that have been made over the years. I feel as though the seeds have been planted.
The newly formed alliance group and the Travel Bureau are providing the muscle that will take all the ideas and make them come true. The momentum has never been greater and as the energy peaks its our responsibility to make these concepts happen. I believe the committees have plateaued and its time when all the agencies and organizations that have a vested interest in our future to reach into their thinking caps and plans bring them all together.
The alliance, the travel bureau and the museum board may be three of the current drivers in the effort to change the direction of the community, but it will take many more partners to pull off the efforts. Together, the entire community can make a difference.