DCED is currently working on these initiatives to support economic growth in Delta County

Adaptive ReUse of the Paonia Technical College

DCED and others are looking at potential re-use for the Paonia Technical College in Paonia, CO, which most recently was for mine training (with the last class taking place in April of 2016).  The goal is to reposition the County in the new economy as a community of choice for food manufacturing and culinary arts and create local jobs in these clusters.  DCED would like to activate the Paonia Technical College as part of this effort.  With this initiative we will work with the State to identify uses.  This work begins in November 2016.

Broadband Initiative:  

DCED recognizes that affordable, reliable and fast broadband is not a luxury; it's a necessity. Affordable broadband is a building block for healthy communities. We are thrilled with the Region 10 Middle Mile project and DMEA's commitment to providing fiber to the premise through Elevate Fiber.  Soon Delta County will be offering gigabit service!

Business Support and Development: 

DCED works to support local businesses expand and stay in Delta County and to establish new businesses in Delta County. We do this through:

  • Resource for accessing state and federal grants/loans (USDA, REDI, Etc.)
  • Small Business Development (funding options, start ups, resource development)
  • Community profile resource, demographics, resources, etc.
  • Entrepreneur / Telecommuting networking, support.
  • Business relocation and Business Start-up support
  • Business & Industry Outreach
  • Liaison between businesses and local and state government
  • Site selection
  • Maintain current county demographics, facts and figures
  • Maintain current listings of real estate through Advance Colorado Website
  • Partner with Region 10 Small Business Resource Center to provide training and consulting to current and start-up businesses.

Countywide Business Branding:  

DCED is working with a Branding Taskforce to create a compelling business brand for the county to recruit new businesses. We will be creating a branding position statement, brand promise, logo and marketing strategy.  The goals of this initiative are to:

  • Create a compelling and unique brand for Delta County that can be easily communicated and understood both internally and externally.
  • Create a brand that can be translated to local towns and business sectors of the community to use in the promotion of Delta County.
  • Create visuals that can be used for marketing Delta County as a great place to do business. 
  • Create a plan that helps guides decision making when it comes to business recruitment and community development.

Economic Recovery and Prosperity Plan for Delta County: 

In 2014 Region 10, on behalf of Gunnison and Delta Counties, applied for and was approved for a U.S. Economic Development Administration FY 2014 Economic Development Adjustment Assistance Program Grant for Delta and Gunnison Counties. This grant was requested to improve and enhance the economic resiliency and sustainability of these two counties in Colorado after the 2013 fire which caused closure of the Oxbow coalmine in Gunnison County, Colorado. Since then, additional mine closures and slow downs are a regional economic emergency which is creating dire consequences for the affected counties. During 2015 and 2016, with consultants from Better City, we conducted an in-depth, visionary and data-driven analysis that prioritized actions at creating a more diversified and robust economy in Delta County. We are currently working on implementation of three projects (hotel/conference center, riverfront/recreation development and food/ag innovation center). The scope of work included:

  • Economic Assessment (state of the economy report for the county which evaluates existing economic and demographic trends)
  • Market Analysis (evaluate market data and conduct appropriate market analysis to determine opportunities for expanding and/or adding new economic opportunities) 
  • Final Report with Recommendations and Action Plan (actions that provide a level of prioritization based on economic impact in the region, job creation, and the long-term sustainability of the action)
  • Feasibility Study Analysis on the top two ideas (completing a detailed feasibility study that may also include an operational plan if that is critical in the implementation of the action for one to two of the highest priority actions identified in the action plan, up to two complete studies)
  • Monitor Results (provide a recommended methodology to monitor the effectiveness of plan implementation and of economic development).

Local Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

In September 2015, DCED convened a committee to look at the development of local renewable energy project in Delta County to supply Delta Montrose Electrical Association. Delta County has significant opportunities to generate power locally particularly related to solar, hydro and coal mine methane. This year DCED partnered with Paonia based Solar Energy International and local solar installer, Empowered Energy Systems to conduct a countywide program "Solarize Delta County", putting solar on residential and business rooftops. DCED also supports Delta County opting in to the Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (“C-PACE”) program. C-PACE uses the existing public-sector structures of improvement and assessment districts to create a voluntary statewide district, called the New Energy Improvement District (NEID), for funding various energy and water improvements. If counties choose to opt-in to the NEID, then commercial property owners in those territories will be able to access a valuable new tool that will improve access to financing in Colorado.

Participation in Collaborative Initiatives

  • Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Steering Committee through Region 10
  • Small Business Development Steering Committee Member through Region 10, bringing business training, education and support throughout Delta County
  • Joint Chambers Meeting with five local chambers, Tourism and DCED
  • Delta County Tourism Cabinet Advisory Member
  • Joint Marketing Committee for Delta County
  • Western Colorado Regional Workforce Development Board
  • Delta County Transit Committee
  • Collaborative Grant Applications as they become available


Rural Jumpstart Zone

DCED is working to get all of Delta County designated as a Rural Jumpstart Zone in 2017.  Rural Jump-Start Zone program provides specific tax relief to New Businesses/divisions (these businesses cannot compete with any other business in the state) and New Hires of these businesses that are located in certain economically distressed areas of rural Colorado and align with local or regional state higher education institutions in order to promote economic development in these areas. This program is based on Senate Bill 15-282, and codified under Colorado Revised Statutes 39-30.5-101. This program is administered by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and the Colorado Economic Development Commission (EDC), in conjunction with other government entities.  Currently both Mesa and Montrose Counties are approved Rural Jumpstart Zones and are working with businesses (seven have been approved in and moved to Mesa).

The Rural Jump-Start Zone program (based on Senate Bill 15-282) is a tax relief program for new businesses  and new hires who locate into certain designated areas called Jump-Start zones. The program offers the following benefits:

• Relief from state income taxes for the new business

• Relief from the state sales & use tax for the business

• Relief from county and municipal business personal property tax

• Relief from state income taxes for the employee

Soil Health Conference

Plan and implement the 7th Annual Western Slope Soil Health Conference on February 23 & 24, 2017. This conference brings together local and national experts to educate the community of ways to improve agricultural practices. Jonathan Lundgren and Keith Berns are national experts coming in for the conference.  Please check out the conference website at:  www.westerncoloradosoilhealth.com. Soil health and sustainable agricultural practices are critical for the future success of the important economic sector. Soil health plays a critical role in agricultural production and environmental quality. Soil is a huge asset for Delta County.

Space to Create

Space to Create Colorado is the first state driven initiative for affordable housing for the creative sector in the nation. The purpose is to develop affordable housing and work space for creative workers and arts organizations and to position Colorado as the nation's leader in artist-led community transformation in rural communities. Space to Create will facilitate the development of nine projects in Colorado over the course of eight years. Delta County is eligible to apply in 2017.  Currently a community group from Paonia is exploring options for the Town of Paonia to apply for this initiative.

Support of Community Projects and Initiatives

Fiscal Sponsor of Flight of the Eagle Project – DCED acts as the fiscal sponsor for the Flight of the Eagle Project in Paonia, which seeks to enhance the community by building a new high school outdoor facility and recreational space for the entire community. This project will help to transform Paonia it into a better and more vibrant environment for future generations.


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