Business and community leaders in Delta County’s North Fork Valley say Paonia, Crawford, and Hotchkiss need an economic boost. They recently held a forum on the North Fork Valley’s economy and what can be done to improve it.
About 100 people attended the forum in Paonia last week.
They came to hear different perspectives on the local economy, what’s working and what’s not, and how to make things better.
About 100 people attended a forum on the North Fork Valley's economy and what can be done to improve it.
Thirteen people ranging from the president of a coal mine to the head of the Paonia Chamber of Commerce spoke at the forum held at the Hive Paonia.
"We have our farms," says Alexis Halbert, president of the chamber. "We have our hunting resources. We have are restaurants, wineries, [and] people who are creating things out of the natural assets of the valley."
A lack of access to high-speed internet is an issue for rural communities on the Western Slope.
Region 10, an organization of governments that serves the area, is trying to address this problem.
The organization recently got a $100,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to make a proposal on how to improve broadband access in six counties: Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel.
There’s often a divide between Colorado’s rural lawmakers and those representing larger communities along the urban Front Range. That dynamic was apparent during the 2014 legislative session with Republicans routinely blaming Democrats for waging what they said is a "war on rural Colorado."
People living in many parts of rural Colorado still don’t have access to high speed Internet. It’s a problem for schools and businesses, and in eastern Colorado it is making it harder for farmers to take full advantage of the latest technology even as state lawmakers passed legislation to try and even the playing field.
Slow Internet is a fact of life for many rural Americans, and residents of Western Colorado are no exception. There have been many failed attempts to bring faster Internet to KVNF's listening area, the latest being Eagle Net.
Now, there's yet another idea on the table. The Delta Montrose Electric Association is considering expanding broadband to much of rural Delta and Montrose counties. We begin our report at a local non-profit organization whose business is seriously impacted by the slow internet speeds.
Improved access to broadband internet is starting to become a reality for Colorado, even the rural Western Slope. The EAGLE‑Net Alliance was given a grant in September 2010 to build the EAGLE‑Net a broadband network around the state. KVNF’s Ariana Brocious spoke to EAGLE-Net Alliance Regional Representative Patrick Swonger about the project and it’s regional impacts.