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Economic Development

Telluride Active Apparel Company Benefits from Region 10 Loan Program

Telluride Active Apparel Company Benefits from Region 10 Loan Program

Kelly and Will Watters were working as skiing and fly-fishing guides when they began searching for functional, yet stylish clothing that would be stretchy, breathable, and water-resistant, and also appropriate for wearing downtown to meet a client.

“We started out of a personal need,” said Kelly, who with her husband founded the active apparel company Western Rise in 2014. “We discovered a lot of clothes were not the style we were looking for. They were not something we’d wear every day. We were hunting for more classic, timeless clothing we could incorporate into our wardrobe.

“We wanted one set of apparel that would perform for all of those things; less is more.”

Looking to grow their company, the Watters turned to Region 10, a Montrose-based nonprofit that offers assistance for new and expanding businesses in six western Colorado counties. The Telluride-based company got a major boost in June after it received a loan from the Rural Business Loan Fund Statewide Collaboration through the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

“It’s a new funding source available; Region 10 was the first Loan Fund in the state to successfully disburse the funds,” said Region 10 Business Loan Fund director Dan Scinto, noting there are additional funds available for similar start-up projects.

The loans are geared toward businesses in underserved markets (the Western Slope, for example where there is less access to capital). The program also distributes loans based on the companies’ merits – “the people operating the business versus the proven cash-flow of the business,” Scinto said.

Will Waters is a third-generation fiber manufacturer who understands how to custom-design fabrics to be high performing.

“They have a true passion for the fibers and the process of materials that go into their products,” Scinto said.

Region 10 provided valuable business advice and helped them navigate the loan application process, Kelly said.

The loan they received allowed the Watters to grow their team, focus on reaching “higher sales goals,” and purchase inventory. Western Rise generally launches new collections seasonally, but is looking to move toward a monthly collection launch, Kelly said.

The company brought on three new employees this year, doubling its team members from three to six.

“We expect to add two more employees in spring of next year,” Kelly said. “We’re trying to grow our base office in Telluride. It’s been a great community for our business. Telluride is an awesome place to product test – if it holds up in Telluride, it will hold up anywhere.”

Region 10’s Business Loan Fund assists local businesses and non-profits located within Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties. The Business Loan Fund focuses on loans that help create or retain jobs, and/or establishes or expands needed businesses in the region.

Two Colorado Companies to Watch Based in Western Colorado

Two Colorado Companies to Watch Based in Western Colorado

 

Two Western Slope-based businesses were each named a 2017 Colorado Company to Watch – an award recognizing companies that have passed the start-up stage, are growing, and contributing to their local economies.

ShadeScapes in Hotchkiss, and Mayfly Outdoors in Montrose – were among the 50 companies honored this summer at the Colorado Companies to Watch ninth annual Awards Gala in Denver. More than 500 companies throughout the state were nominated.

Jo Edmondson, ShadeScapes founder and CEO, distributes high-quality shade products such as umbrellas and cabanas, for five different companies in Belgian, South Africa, Montreal, and Germany.

With a warehouse in Delta and an office and showroom in Hotchkiss, Edmondson employs 14 people – including two in Delta and 10 in Hotchkiss. ShadeScapes sells to contractors, landscape architects, dealers, designers, commercial businesses and private homeowners.

The Rural Economic Development Initiative awarded a $65,000 grant to Edmondson toward the purchase of a 1905 mercantile building in downtown Hotchkiss because of the company’s potential to revitalize a depressed part of Colorado. The building at 122 Bridge St. was purchased and renovated in 2015, and the company moved in March 2016.

Not only has Edmondson created jobs in the North Fork Valley – an area hurting from coal industry job losses – the showroom has “breathed some life into the community,” Edmondson said, by serving various nonprofit groups after hours. Delta County Memorial Hospital, Rotary Club of the North Fork Valley, the Hotchkiss Chamber of Commerce, and Kid’s Pasta Project have all used the building for events and/or meetings.

Nancy Murphy, director of the Small Business Development (Region 10) and West Central SBDC, Satellite Office in Montrose, nominated ShadeScapes for the award because of the “amazing” things the company is doing for the community.

“They’ve turned the building into a hip, urban style office that showcases their stunning shade structures in downtown Hotchkiss, which has added vibrancy to the community,” Murphy said.

Being named a Colorado Company to Watch is a big deal, Edmundson said.

“We’re definitely energized by it; we’re grateful for it. It will help get the word out about who we are – we’re a Colorado company, with beautiful products in a small town.  The award helps us to spread our wings.”

Each of the 50 winners is expected to host an event that publicizes their awards.

“We’ll do that in Hotchkiss (October 6) but we also want to tell our story around the state and so we are going to go on a tour,” Edmundson said. “We’re going to have pop-up showrooms in Aspen and Denver.”

The Western Slope’s other Colorado Company to Watch – Mayflower Outdoors – is an outdoor product investment company that focuses on businesses that are under-managed, or under funded, said Mayfly president David Dragoo.

“We take over, operate them and turn them around,” he said.

Dragoo founded Mayfly in Colorado Springs in 2012, from where he already operated two businesses – Abel Reels and Charlton Reels, makers of fly-fishing reels and accessories. He moved his company to Montrose in August 2016 after purchasing Ross Reels, a Montrose business founded in 1983. Mayfly’s office and factory are located at 11 Ponderosa Court. The company employs 50 people  – 33 in Montrose, and 16 in California.

“The award brings recognition to Montrose and is good for the community,” Dragoo said. “And it’s beneficial for local and statewide recruiting. One of our goals is to create more jobs here.”

Dragoo is encouraging other businesses to set up shop in Montrose with the development of a business park along the Uncompahgre River where he has purchased property and is building a new factory for Mayfly. Dragoo is also improving fish habitat along a stretch of the river and is partnering with Montrose, the city recreation district, and Great Outdoors Colorado to construct a walkway along the river.

“One of our goals is to create a nice path, a good place to fly fish, and quality fish habitat,” he said.

Being named a Colorado Company to Watch shows that Montrose has a “compelling economic environment for business people like us,” Dragoo said.

Both Murphy and Montrose Economic Development Corporation executive director Sandy Head nominated Mayfly for the award.

“They’re working to develop (the riverfront property) into an outdoor recreation manufacturing hub – along with other businesses,” like restaurants and brewpubs, Head said. They’re going to develop a piece of land that has been idle for years. It will attract other manufacturers. Mayfly is most deserving of Colorado Company to Watch.”

Region 10 and Partners Lighting Up Broadband in Delta and Montrose Counties

Region 10, partners light up broadband

Photo by Pat Sunderland Officials from the cities of Delta and Montrose, Delta and Montrose county commissioners, Delta County Economic Development and Delta-Montrose Electric Association grab onto a fiberoptic cable as Irv Halter, DOLA executive director

In a symbolic gesture, state, county and city officials gathered to light up the fiberoptic cable that will deliver high speed broadband to both Delta and Montrose.

Phase one construction, and the building of the fiberoptic network in those two cities, is complete following more than three years of planning, engineering and construction.

“Today marks the start of affordable broadband for our communities,” said Delta Mayor Ed Sisson. “This regional access point in Delta is the culmination of many years, long hours and organizations working together to make it happen.”

The carrier neutral location is housed in the city’s municipal light and power building. It serves the Delta County Library District and soon, the school district. From that location, internet service providers can deliver gigabit speeds to businesses and residents.

Michelle Haynes, executive director for Region 10 League of Economic Assistance and Planning, said it’s fitting the lighting ceremony was held at ML&P, which generated the electricity that moved the community forward in the ’30s and ’40s. “Now this is where we’re locating one of our regional hubs, which will take our community into the next step, into the next century, and help us move forward with economic development.”

The collaborative effort began in 2013 with a planning grant from the Department of Local Affairs. In 2015, DOLA made a $5.2 million investment in the design and construction of a middle-mile system for the Region 10 network. The project became a reality with buy-in from the cities of Delta and Montrose, Delta County and Delta-Montrose Electric Association. Additional funds were provided by El Pomar Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, in recognition of the economic impact mine closures held for Delta and Gunnison counties.

“Now with the work of DMEA, we’re looking at gigabit-level service to every home in the Delta-Montrose county area in the next five to six years,” Haynes said.

Delta County commissioner Doug Atchley said the county committed $750,000 in the belief broadband is essential to economic development not only in Delta County, but all of western Colorado. He thanked all the partners for their vision and the push to make the project a reality.

“There’s lots more to do, but congratulations!” said Irv Halter, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs. “I can’t wait to see what this will do for your community as you move forward.”

He commented on one individual who did not attend the lighting ceremony on July 24, but is committed to connectivity across the state — Governor John Hickenlooper.

Phase two of the project, which is currently underway, will extend that connectivity to communities throughout Delta, Montrose, Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale and San Miguel counties.

Local internet service providers (ISP’s) can leverage Region 10’s network to build strong business models to provide low-cost access for their customers. Region 10 explains gigabit broadband is the next-generation technology that enables the world of tomorrow, including telemedicine and telehealth, improved education and distance learning, more efficient and effective government, economic development and job creation, enhanced public safety, and smart grid and energy management systems.

Additionally, the network can be used by internet service providers, cellular companies, and phone and cable companies, to lower their costs and improve services.

In a press release issued last week, Region 10 broadband project director Chris Kennedy said, “Abundant, affordable, and reliable broadband services are no longer a luxury in rural areas, but are more like a utility like water or electricity. In terms of attracting and retaining businesses locally, we can now compete more effectively with other, larger urban areas.”

Is your business leaving money on the table?

Is your business leaving money on the table?

If your business is helping drive local economic development by creating and/or retaining jobs in an Enterprise Zone, you may be eligible for Enterprise Zone tax credits.

10 Questions to Ask Yourself

Are you…

  • Making an investment in equipment or improvements?
  • Hiring employees?
  • Operating in an enhanced rural zone?
  • Adding value to agricultural commodities?
  • Sponsoring health insurance for your employees?
  • Planning to occupy a previously vacant building?
  • Providing job training?
  • Making private expenditures on R+D?
  • Purchasing manufacturing machinery, machine tools, and machine parts?
  • Considering local government tax incentives?

Are you located in…

  • Delta*, Hinsdale*, Montrose, and Ouray* counties: All incorporated and unincorporated areas.
  • Gunnison County: All incorporated and unincorporated areas, except in the Town of Crested Butte where only zoned commercial, business, tourist, or PUD are included.
  • San Miguel County: All incorporated and unincorporated areas, except in the town of Telluride.

*Delta, Hinsdale, and Ouray counties are Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zones and offer larger tax credits to businesses that apply.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re leaving money on the table!

Call today to find out how your business can benefit from Enterprise Zone tax credits

and learn how to save money on your Colorado income taxes.  Preregistration required.

www.region10.net/enterprisezone
970.765.3130

Nonprofits: Help your donors get more bang for their bucks

Nonprofits: Help your donors get more bang for their bucks

If your business is a nonprofit helping drive local economic development by creating and/or retaining jobs in an Enterprise Zone, your donors may be eligible for Enterprise Zone Contribution Tax Credits.

If so, your donors could receive a Colorado income tax credit for 25% of cash contributions, up to a maximum credit of $100,000, and/or 12.5% for in-kind contributions, such as labor, materials, desks, computer equipment, or stock. 

Eligible projects include:

  • Homeless Shelters offering or providing referrals to child care, job placement, and counseling services;
  • Business Assistance including management training and counseling, incubators, finance funds, and feasibility studies;
  • Job Training Projects directed at specific skill training in cooperation with business and industry;
  • Infrastructure Projects serving businesses, including water, sewer, transportation, telecommunications, streetscaping, business and industrial parks;
  • Marketing for business, economic and business development;
  • Rural Health Care Facilities that are identified in a rural Enterprise Zone’s development plan; and
  • Community Development Projects promoting nonprofit or government-funded community development projects.

Serving Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties

Getting started:

  1. Contact your local Enterprise Zone Administrator (EZA) by calling Region 10 at 970.249.2436 or emailing ezadmin@region10.net
  2. The EZA will provide the proposed project information on the state requirements and application process.
  3. An application form and proposal must be completed and submitted to the EZA.
  4. All projects must be approved by the State Enterprise Zone Commission in order to be able to receive contributions.
  5. Projects must be recertified each year in order to continue to receive contributions.
  6. The EZA will work with Project Coordinator to complete the donor certification form (DR0075).
  7. The donor must complete, sign, and attach the DR0075 form to his/her Colorado Income Tax in order to receive the tax credit.

Call today to find out how your donors can get more bang for their donation buck.

www.region10.net/contribution-tax-credits
ezadmin@region10.net
970.249.2436

Region 10 communities awarded support for Colorado Blueprint 2.0

Region 10 communities awarded support for Colorado Blueprint 2.0

Several Region 10 communities—Montrose, Ouray, and Delta—received great news from the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) on July 21st. In a press release, OEDIT announced the recipients of the Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiative. State resources have been set aside to better serve rural communities around the state and help them identify economic solutions that make them more resilient.

To learn more, read the press release below. Congratulations to all of community members involved in the application process for these awards!

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne announces
Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiative recipients
DENVER – Thurs., July 21, 2016 – Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne today visited the town of Delta to announce recipients of the first round of the Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiatives. The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) launched Blueprint 2.0 last year as a way to examine how best to serve rural communities around the state and identify opportunities to leverage the state’s resources.

“Blueprint 2.0 is a great example of how Colorado is going above and beyond existing resources to support the needs of our rural regions,” said Lt Gov. Donna Lynne. “We congratulate today’s recipients and look forward to seeing how these regions leverage the new services and resources to help strengthen their economies and communities.”

Colorado Blueprint 2.0 Recipients:
* Industry Attraction Initiative: Rio Blanco, Trinidad
* Competitive Advantage: Fort Morgan, Limon, Dillon
* Grow Your Outdoor Recreation Industry: Ouray, Montrose
* Strengthen Local Business Brand: San Luis Valley, Buena Vista, Delta
* Tiny Homes Community Master Plan: Morgan, Steamboat, Pagosa Springs`
* Adaptive Reuse Workshop: Brush, Delta County, Summit County
* Call Yourself Creative: Buena Vista, Rio Blanco County, Kremmling
* Incubator/Accelerator Best Practices: Morgan County, Steamboat, NWCOG
* Tourism Promotion: La Junta, Delta County, Rio Blanco County
* Community-Led Initiative: Custer County

Over the past year, OEDIT hosted 13 strategy sessions throughout the rural regions of Colorado to develop the ten different initiatives that communities would find most beneficial to apply for through Blueprint 2.0. Each initiative includes services not previously provided by the State, and leverages state resources and partnerships with organizations outside of the State of Colorado to provide technical assistance to regions who expressed an interest in pursuing the initiatives.

Many communities applied for Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiatives, and during the application process, communities and regions were asked to demonstrate collaboration, strong local leadership and solid support for the initiative they chose to pursue.

Initiatives will be deployed between now and December 2016. A new round of Blueprint 2.0 initiatives will be unveiled in 2017.

Olathe incorporates pocket park into Main Street revitalization

Olathe incorporates pocket park into Main Street revitalization

This article was originally published in The Montrose Daily Press. Region 10 has received permission to republish this article on our own website. 

Pocket Park will be a Main Street design, activity feature

By Carole Ann McKelvey
Montrose Daily Press News Editor

The rendering of a planned improvement in a small park on Olathe’s Main Street was designed by CU students.

The rendering of a planned improvement in a small park on Olathe’s Main Street was designed by CU students.

A Region 10 grant of Colorado Department of Local Affairs money may not have seemed like a big deal to them, but to Olathe, it is funding a huge improvement in the community.

Monique English, administrative assistant for Olathe, wrote the grant for $5,000 and with a 100% match from the town, it is funding an upgrade on the small park on Main Street, the city hopes to turn into a centerpiece for downtown.

The grant comes on the heels of a $1,200 grant received last year that helped fund a renovation downtown.

As part of beautification efforts the city has organized a “Beautify Olathe Committee.”

The efforts thus far have included new planters and trashcans. Business owners and citizens have been invited to participate by adopting planters, planting and maintaining them, with the city providing watering.

Now in it’s third year, the program has caught on, English said, “and many people have adopted planters and kept them up over time. The program is very popular.”

Monique English, Olathe administrative assistant, stands in the small park on Main Street that will be rehabilitated and upgraded with a DOLA grant.

Monique English, Olathe administrative assistant, stands in the small park on Main Street that will be rehabilitated and upgraded with a DOLA grant.

A much larger grant from Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance funds totaled $318,000 and paid for a project that upgraded the main street’s gutters, roadway and storm sewers. It was concluded with repaving in 2015.

English said the little park that now exists near downtown is too small and very dark. The plans call for opening up the space, adding an information kiosk, new benches and other amenities to enhance the space.

It is hoped in the future to have bands play there for street dancing, to have small festivals and farmers market events in the space.

The city’s traditional pine Christmas tree is at the edge of the space and will remain, she said.

The park plans were drafted by students at the Colorado Center for Community Development at the University of Colorado. Student landscape architects submitted three designs from which the current one was picked, she said.

 

Is the Gunnison River the Key to Delta’s Economic Development?

Is the Gunnison River the Key to Delta’s Economic Development?

The recent downturn in the coal industry led to a literal collapse in Delta County. On April 22nd, the silos that once housed coal for the Oxbow mines in Somerset were demolished, taking down a familiar visual landmark that the local community took pride in.

Nearly a year and half ago, when the West Elk mines idled activities, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded nearly $250,000 in grant funds to a joint project associated with Delta County, Gunnison County, and Region 10. The primary goal of the project was to identify and strategize for a diversified economic future for these communities that have been dependent upon the coal industry for so long.

In partnership with Better City consultants (who were awarded the bid to develop market strategies and determine project feasibility), the Delta County group (with support from City of Delta, Delta County Economic Development, and Delta County Commissioners) has started to move forward on a number of potential economic development projects. The partnership produced eight different potential projects, which include detailed market analysis and feasibility.

As a natural hub for outdoor beauty, Delta is seeking to build upon its existing identity as an outdoor recreation destination. A two-mile stretch along the Gunnison River, between Confluence and Cottonwood Parks, has been identified as a potential site for development. The development would include building trails on both sides of the river, increasing access, and additional parks. There is even discussion about activating old gravel ponds for possible recreation use, such as a paddleboard park.

The City of Delta has already received a $100,000 grant from the Department of Local Affairs to be used for engineering plans for the development.

To compliment the riverside planning, the development of big brand hotel and conference center has also been identified as a potential project. To better accommodate Delta’s tourism markets, a nationally-recognized hotel brand will attract new patrons who eagerly book through loyalty and rewards programs. A formal request for proposals will be publicly available in the future. Several hotel companies are currently considering Delta as a future location, so this project seems promising at the moment.

The building of a hotel and the development of riverside recreation will not be the sole answers to Delta County’s immediate woes. Instead, these projects will serve as infrastructure for a bigger plan. The big picture that needs to be addressed is how the community brands and markets itself moving forward. In addition, this bigger picture includes how the county develops future frameworks for public/private partnerships to better leverage community resources while encouraging private investment back into the community.

Over time, the synthesis of these projects will help move the dial and put Delta on a path to future economic development.

For more information regarding the feasibility studies and analysis conducted by Better Cities, please contact Delta County Economic Development at 970.874.4992.

Click here to view a presentation put together by DCED that covers many of the other projects proposed during this economic diversification plan.

Enterprise Zone: How EZ Helped Haven House Find New Donors, Buy a New Property

Enterprise Zone: How EZ Helped Haven House Find New Donors, Buy a New Property

Sometimes, the best way to help somebody is to teach them how to help themselves. This is very same philosophy that drives the mission of Haven House, a faith-based homeless shelter based in Olathe.

Haven House provides transitional housing and counseling support for the transient and homeless. The organization specializes specifically in serving transient families and youth. Haven House not only serves Montrose County, but also serves as an alternative resource for struggling individuals in surrounding communities.

hh2“We came together as an organization about six years ago with the mission of doing something for the homeless in southwest Colorado—that’s what brought us together,” Larry Fredericksen, founder of Haven House.

“It evolved quickly into a determination that we wanted to become a transitional housing program focused on families, which we determined to be the most vulnerable segment of the population,” he continues.

During their first year of planning, the Haven House team discovered that over 200 children in Montrose County reported being homeless, which is a significant figure for a community of its size.

With the rise of economic hardships, Haven House’s services become more prevalent and vital to those who found themselves on the fringes of the economy. As a result, the organization outgrew its original space. Haven House needed to secure a new space to facilitate its programs and services.

Their needs translated into a vision of providing transitional housing for the individuals and families served by Haven House.

“The Enterprise Zone program came along at the right time for us because we were needing a permanent home… and to fund our operations and capital program, we needed some help. The Enterprise Zone was perfect for that purpose.” ~ Larry Fredericksen, Haven House founder

“Our goals for them are to get them back into permanent housing and on a path to self-sufficiency,” states Larry Fredericksen, founder of Haven House.

Like any expansion/relocation plan, a significant amount of money was needed to make it come to fruition. As a humble nonprofit organization, Haven House was not in the financial position to make this happen on their own.

Enter Region 10 and its Enterprise Zone Contribution Tax Credit program. Supported by statewide economic development efforts, this program incentivizes donors to contribute to pre-approved nonprofit organizations by providing sizable tax credits. Cash donations made to approved EZ projects qualify for a 25 percent state tax credit ($100,000 is the maximum amount). In-kind donations (e.g. labor, materials, equipment, etc.) can receive a 12.5 percent credit. When tax season rolls around, these credits quickly add up to significant savings. In addition, these designated nonprofits are better equipped to carry out their missions with extra donations.

To become an approved project, nonprofit organizations must demonstrate a positive impact on economic development. Haven House provides “soft skills” training for its residents: teaching programs how to build their resume, behave in a professional setting, arrive better prepared for the workforce, etc. Furthermore, inspiring residents to become more self-sufficient alleviates the societal burden of supporting those who might otherwise utilize the public dole for their main source of income.

Fredericksen and Haven House linked up with EZ because of an existing relationship: Michelle Haynes, Executive Director of Region 10, originally was a volunteer for the faith-based homeless shelter. After participating in the EZ contribution program, Haven House witnessed an unprecedented increase in charitable donations to their program.

“The Enterprise Zone program came along at the right time for us because we were needing a permanent home… and to fund our operations and capital program, we needed some help,” Fredericksen adds. “The Enterprise Zone was perfect for that purpose.”

As a result of participating in EZ, Haven House secured the necessary funds to purchase a new 13,000 square foot facility.

The result: The ability to better serve more struggling families. Haven House currently serves on average 12,000-14,000 shelter nights per year—a definite increase in service in comparison to their first year of operations. (A shelter night equals one person per one night during an overnight stay.) Haven House is currently serving 45 individuals living in their transitional housing.

Haven House AnniversaryTo celebrate five years of significant accomplishments and growth, Haven House is hosting a birthday party, open house, and spaghetti dinner. Haven House will be talking about its programming, honoring volunteers and participants, and working to potentially recruit more. The event is scheduled for Friday, May 6th from 4:00 to 7:00 pm (dinner served at 5:00 pm) at their new location at 4806 N. River Road in Olathe. For more information on Haven House or the event, please call 970.323.5280.

To learn more about the Enterprise Zone’s Contribution Program, please contact Region 10 at 970.249.2436 or ezadmin@region10.net.

 

 

 

The Latest on Broadband for the Region

The Latest on Broadband for the Region

Region 10 continues to succeed in securing the funding necessary for the expansion of high-speed broadband in Western Colorado. An additional $1.78 million in grant funding​ was recently announced​ from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to be used toward this effort.

This particular grant will be used to finance the second phase of the regional broadband network designed to connect with the first phase of the project (Delta County and a portion of Montrose County) and extend into Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale, and San Miguel Counties.

To update the community on our efforts, ​Region 10 recently hosted a regional meeting recently which invited both elected officials, internet service providers, and interested citizens. In attendance was Irv Halter, DOLA’s Executive Director, who spoke about the state of Colorado’s efforts to support economically struggling communities.

“It’s increasingly important to be able to have high-capacity broadband,” Halter mentioned while addressing the crowd. “In fact, it’s the coin of the realm: If you don’t have that, you don’t exist.”

Halter’s comments reflect the impetus of this entire endeavor, as broadband represents a vital component of our region’s economic development strategies.

The continued goal of this network is build out the “middle mile” infrastructure in and provide redundancy for each participating community in Region 10. Each community involved the project will house a carrier neutral locations for private providers to utilize for the “last mile” buildouts to home and businesses.

​The design is​ to build the most cost-efficient network by leveraging existing infrastructure assets, like dark fiber scattered throughout the region. To build from scratch and connect all Region 10 communities, a new regional broadband network is estimated to have cost $60 million. Instead, with careful coordinating, the estimated price tag for the project in its current is approximately $14 million.

Region 10 has already been a recipient of significant funding. The first phase of development received $5.2 million of state funds from DOLA and $1.2 million in federal funding from Partnerships for Opportunity, Workforce, and Economic Revitalization (POWER). All local communities involved in the project have ponied up matching funds to better leverage funding for construction and coordination of the network.

The project has also leveraged a generous in-kind donation from Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA)​, who remains a valuable partner in the process, and is​ provid​ing the network with six non-transferable fibers that are a part of their own internal network that is in the midst of construction.

​The projects are working together to determine the most efficient way to complete the middle mile service, while DMEA continues to plan to cover homes and businesses throughout their service area.​

​Executive Director Michelle Haynes comments, “This project represents significant collaboration from the most local levels, to support from state and federal resources, in recognition of the importance of broadband in our local economy. Region 10 is pleased to be a partner in such a broad effort in our communities and region.”

Phase one construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

With the new DOLA funding, phase two service areas will be integrated into the design and implementation process, with an ultimate goal to have the Region 10 middle mile portion completed within the next two years.