As GarCo seeks to spread its name, commissioner warns of perils of fame

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Garfield County commissioners have conditionally agreed to contribute $19,700 to the creation of a nationally televised report promoting the county as a “hidden gem” for economic development.

However, one commissioner said it’s important not to trigger a rush of job seekers to an area lacking enough housing and other infrastructure to accommodate all of them.

“I don’t want to get the cart ahead of the horse and have a bunch of people migrating to Garfield County without having a place to live,” said Commissioner Larry McCown.

Commissioners unanimously decided Monday to pay a $19,700 “scheduling fee” to have The Economic Report syndicated program create a five-minute segment on the county.

The segment, hosted by Greg Gumbel, would be aired once on Fox Business News and at least 19 times in chosen markets on programs including CNN Headline News and regional programs. Producers also expect
it to appear on venues such as the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and MSNBC.

The agreement gives the county a say in the report’s production, including input on a promotional campaign and script development, and approval of final production. Despite such editorial involvement and the $19,700 fee, county manager Ed Green said The Economic Report creates news programs, not infomercials.

The producers are touting the report as a means of promoting the county’s economic development efforts and encouraging businesses to relocate to the county.

McCown called the county’s financial commitment “money well spent as far as getting national exposure.”

But he said it’s important not to create unrealistic expectations that could draw a mass migration of job seekers from areas such as the upper Midwest.

He said the county already is hearing from the Salvation Army about people being attracted to the region and ending up living in tents because they can’t find anywhere else to live. Some are coming to the county in hopes of landing some of the many jobs being created by natural gas development.

Commissioner Tresi Houpt agreed that the area’s tight housing market is a concern. She also said the county should take into account the results of its ongoing opinion survey of residents before deciding on the appropriateness of a national marketing effort.

Commissioners agreed to participate with the caveat that they can control the timing of the report’s release, in case they change their minds about wanting to be involved. The report is scheduled to air in March.


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