Town Hall Musings
Each month, Mayor Dan or one of the Carbondale Trustees will treat Bonedale|Amplified readers to what has their attention at the moment. This monthly town column allows them to reach out to us, long format– no word counts, no space limitations. It’s an opportunity for them to share with us the myriad and unexpected ways and channels through which they use their professions, life experience and roles in the town government to be in service to our community and valley. We have a dynamic new Board of Trustees, reflecting the change seen in other public arenas in Carbondale. Will Grandbois and Gavin Dahl have been ramping it up at The Sopris Sun and KDNK public radio, respectively. These are exciting times for the Carbondale. Town Hall Musings is a new place to check in with your civic leaders.
It’s exciting to think Carbondale has a magazine focused on Carbondale!
Our community is such a melting pot of doers and Bonedale|Amplified’s magazine and online community can help spread the word on our collective happenings.
Spring certainly has sprung and it feels like there is a lot of pent up energy – and in Carbondale that means creative ideas are ready to bloom. The national economy continues to hum right along and I hear many people talking about Carbondale’s economic future. Our economic base is different than many towns as we don’t rely on one industry. The town’s revenue heavily depends on sales tax so we are dependent upon businesses that collect sales tax, but the economy at large is incredibly diverse. We are makers, thinkers, advocates, creatives, sellers, growers, etc. and I would argue our economic prosperity thrives when the people and their endeavors thrive.
Recently I was able to observe the presentations pitched at the ‘Entrepreneur + Investor Confluence’ event hosted by Glen X.
Wow, was I impressed at the local entrepreneurs ready to explode into the marketplace. If the creativity and strong will of these entrepreneurs is any indication of our economic future, its a brilliant future!
One presenter used the term “Retail Apocalypse” to describe the global phenomenon of online shopping that hit full speed in 2017. Clearly its a concern for local businesses and communities dependent on sales tax, but it isn’t stopping many Carbondalians from re-inventing their businesses. I was especially impressed at the integration of sustainability and local resourcefulness.
The sales tax carrot
Rather than chasing sales tax for the sake of sales tax, our businesses are capitalizing on what Carbondale does best.
We have top-notch chefs, brewers and distillers teaming up with local ranchers and farmers to bolster our food and beverage scene. App developers are connecting our health-conscious tourists with our local businesses specializing in health and wellness. These ideas and the other ventures happening around town seem to build on the intersection of what we’re good at and what we love to do. Where happiness and expertise collide, good things happen.
Housing hurdles ahead
I am inspired about what’s on our horizon but that’s not to say I’m blind to the challenges we face. While there are many approved and un-built housing units in town, the lack of affordable housing continues to be a drag on local residents and businesses. Because the Town of Carbondale doesn’t have the funding source to build housing, we teamed with other local jurisdictions on an assessment to drill down on what specifically is needed and how we can be more effective. With land and construction costs through the roof, every project requires multiple partners, ingenuity and determination. Fortunately we have all three, so we’ll keep chipping away at it.
Launching our Little Ones
Childcare is another challenge that continues to frustrate parents and businesses alike. I’m not sure what role the town should play in addressing this challenge, but its in everyone’s best interest to remove the hurdles so that we can have adequate capacity of quality childcare in town. I personally want to help young families thrive and I’m learning that without better access to childcare, the deck is stacked against them. Fortunately there is a local coalition of dedicated parents working with us to help do just that. So we’re looking at tweaking our municipal code to better recognize the need and value that quality childcare brings to town.
If our community wants to continue to attract and maintain the creative ‘doers’ like the ones mentioned above, the town must be open to helping solve these and the many other challenges that arise. In my first two years as mayor, I’ve been encouraged with how willing and able town staff, local businesses, other agencies, surrounding jurisdictions and our neighbors are to make good things happen. And now I’m stoked that Bonedale|Amplified is here to help in these efforts! As my brother-in-law Frank the Tank would say, “I’m pumped up!”
Dan Richardson is a husband to Holly, father to Henry and Noel, mayor of Carbondale and Chief Operating Officer for Ascendigo Autism Services.