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Collective forms to address economic and social recovery in Southwest Colorado

The Colorado Resilience Office has created 16 community coalitions to facilitate economic and social recovery from the pandemic. (Courtesy Colorado Resilience Office)
Montezuma Community Collective one of 16 formed in the state under the Colorado Resilience Office

The Montezuma Community Collective is hosting a series of meetings to discuss local issues and challenges.

Four meetings will be held throughout the county, including on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation.

The topics to be addressed are housing and transportation, business and entrepreneurs, agriculture and drought, community health, and workforce and education.

The new collective describes itself as “a collaboration of local and regional entities and community members that encourages people to take an active role in local projects and problems.”

Participating jurisdictions are the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Montezuma County, Dolores County, Mancos, Dolores, Cortez, Dove Creek and Rico.

The meeting schedule is:

  • April 6: noon to 1 p.m. at the Ute Mountain Rec Center, Sunset Blvd., Towaoc. Free lunch provided.
  • April 18: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Cortez Business Resource Center, 20 W. Main St. Free dinner provided.
  • April 29: 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mancos Public Library, 211 W. First St., Mancos. Free snacks provided.
  • May 4: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Dolores Public Library. Free dinner provided.

According to MCC documents the organization “will leverage collaborative relationships that blend the diverse skills and talents of stakeholders and the voices of community members to solve complex issues and reduce duplicative efforts.”

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MCC is one of 16 regional community teams formed statewide under Colorado Resilience Office that works to facilitate recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Each team develops a Regional Resiliency Roadmap for recovery specific for their region. Together, the teams hope to implement strategies to help Colorado’s rural communities recover from the pandemic and be more resilient to future shocks and stressors.

The objectives for Montezuma Community Collective are:

1. Manage natural resources and develop infrastructure to enable water availability for residential and commercial use.

2. Develop infrastructure needed to enable desired industry activities in the region.

3. Support economic diversification, industry attraction, and existing business expansion.

4. Develop relationship infrastructure between governmental, nongovernmental, and business entities to address systemic challenges and improve business opportunities.

5. Create business support resources.

6. Explore public private partnerships to help address community needs.

7. Create education and workforce development opportunities that are coordinated with business and industry expansion and attraction strategies.

8. Help address mental and behavioral health care needs in the region including culturally responsive care.

9. Create child care availability and accessibility.

10. Improve the availability and accessibility of housing that meets community needs.

To encourage and prepare community leaders to take an active role in the coalition, MCC has partnered with Montezuma Leadership Network. MLN will provide leadership training and peer networking so the community can better help itself in the long term.

The Colorado Resiliency Office states the road map recovery planning process is taking an inclusive approach where everyone is encouraged to participate regardless of age, background and beliefs.

“We envision that by identifying, including, and serving disproportionately impacted and socially or economically disadvantaged groups through the Roadmaps Program, these populations will be less vulnerable and less impacted during future shocks and stressors,” states its website. “We encourage community organizations to get involved in their region and/or in the planning process across regions.”

The Roadmaps Program is led by the Department of Local Affairs, Colorado Resiliency Office in partnership with the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and Community Builders. This opportunity is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

For more information on the Montezuma Community Collective, call (970) 564-4159 or email jthurman@co.montezuma.co.us.