The past few weeks there has been a lot of press focusing on Carbon County.
A month ago I covered a story of travel writers, mostly freelancers who write travel stories for a variety of magazines and specialty newspapers focusing on everything from RV living to senior citizens.
Then, the very next weekend the Jensens at Tavaputs Ranch invited me to meet with a group of writers and photographers for several nationally known magazines such as Sunset, Cowboys and Indians and Western Horseman.
And then, the media frenzy occurred, with around 100 photographers and reporters from throughout the country to cover the Range Creek That story, because it was run it most of the large daily newspaper in America and throughout the world put Price, Carbon County and Range Creek on the map.
Just last week a photographer with Pat Summerall Champions of Industry was in Carbon County filming for a CNN report that will show Price as one of the top small cities in America and the only small city featured in Utah. The announcement will come in September and will also include two full pages in Forbes magazine.
Being a marketer and having worked in with advertising world my whole life these kinds of stories and promotions are music to my ears. We could never afford to pay for the publicity that these campaigns are giving us.
But I am concerned.
Just as I do not think the DWR (Division of Wildlife Resources) was ready for the world to find out about Range Creek, I wonder if Carbon County and all the entities here are ready for what might follow with this increased publicity.
I have attended hundreds of meetings the past three years where issues such as economic development, tourism, development, branding, quality of living, and our future has been discussed. One of the comments made during the Range Creek tour was, "Ready or not, here they come."
Is Carbon County, the College of Eastern Utah, Price City or the Castle Valley Tourism Bureau ready for what might be around the next corner or are we going to be blind sited by a rush or tourists, conventions, new businesses and not have a general plan in place to deal with the insurgence?
Don't get me wrong, I have seen a lot of progress in many areas in my short period of time here. I see agencies and entities working together but I feel that now is the time to turn up the heat and really begin prioritizing the projects, discussions and efforts. We do not have time to spin our wheels.
I often have more questions than answers and today I have lots of questions. What do we need help with? Are we really setting goals for future progress or are some of us talking in circles? Does the city understand what the county needs? Where will CEU fit into the community mix in five years? Are all the entities working together as a team? Are we getting the attention of the politicians, especially up north, to assist us in our efforts as we move forward?
Remember we never stand still. We are either moving forward or moving backwards.
I think one of the most important aspects we need to keep in mind is that as we move forward we always analyze the quality of life verses economic development.
The following is simply a partial list of discussion items I have been part of the past three years. I know that many of these are progressing and developing, while others are on the back burner on someone's desk.
I challenge the leaders, politicians, government officials and anyone concerned about our future to get involved. Who are the best people to be working on the committees to make these items move along? Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
Here are the areas of concern, discussion or development:
Development of a trail system from Wellington to Scofield.
Expansion of recreation programs.
Construction of more RV campgrounds or tenting opportunities.
Creation of a business park.
Establishing an energy training center.
Building a community library or fine arts center.
Expanding the museum.
Developing an equestrian park.
Building a shooting range.
Branding the community.
Completing the Main Street project.
Moving forward on the Nine Mile projects.
Developing partners between
private entrepreneurs and government entities.
Establishing Helper as an art community.
Do we need a community grant writer
Monopolizing on our railroad heritage.
Establishing a convention bureau.
Establishing more signage or dinosaur figures close to the highway to get people traveling through the area off the road and into the heart of our towns..
This is just a short list of ideas that have been tossed around regularly. Like I said, many of these are in some form or process of developing, but is everyone that is working towards improvement aware of what other agencies, committees or entities are doing? What is the common thread in all of this?
Like the movie, "Field of Dreams," "If we build, they will follow." We have been talking and building for many years and possibly, now, more than ever before, they are starting to come.
Are we ready?