When roundabouts were first installed in Grand Junction, drivers seemed apprehensive to navigate through them. Roundabouts since have grown in popularity and made our intersections safer.
Is it time, though, for something completely different in the Grand Valley? This change involves investments and growing pains — and I don’t mean another roundabout.
It’s time to get broadband Internet services installed. Grand Junction can’t remain behind in technology and the Front Range much longer. It’s costing us new industry, associated jobs, younger educated residents and real diversification. Moreover, fast Internet access brings a different type of employment in people who can work from anwhere.
Montrose has the Proximity Space, a coworking space. Grand Junction has the Factory coworking space. So what’s the attraction to coworking spaces? From the Proximity website: “With the launch of the Proximity Space, entrepreneurs and innovators are discovering the power that lies in sharing ideas and letting the creative juices flow. Young people now have a positive environment to study and work on projects together. Travelers have professional and quiet space where they can catch up on their work. New business opportunities are being launched because of the ability to share ideas in an environment that is filled with the latest technology and individuals who know how to turn dream ideas into reality.”
Businesses have been attracted to the Western Slope and Grand Junction. Ross Reels, a leader in precision machining in the fly fishing industry, has been in Montrose since 1983. In October, Mayfly Outdoors, the parent company of Ross Reels, announced plans to develop a world-class center for outdoor industry and enthusiasts along the famed Uncompaghre River, a development that could thrust Montrose to the front of a national wave of industry cluster projects transforming American business.
Hemp Adobe, a business operated by BioCorp US that uses industrial hemp to manufacture residential building materials, will open in Montrose, according to National Hemp News. Kevin Hodge, chief executive officer of the company, said he decided to bring his business to Western Colorado after a frustrating three-year experience trying to start his venture in Washington state. He was shopping for incentive packages in a few states, came through Montrose on business and saw a good fit in the community.
Hemp Adobe is the eighth company approved under the Rural Jump-Start tax incentive program in Colorado. The other companies already in the program are Colorado Clear, General Synfuels, Kaart Group, ProStar Geocorp, Qmast, Rebco Hydroponics and TSW Analytics. The companies are expected create a total of 204 new jobs in Western Colorado. DeBeque recently was allowed to join the Rural Jump-Start program in Mesa County, making it possible for participating companies to locate in DeBeque.
Let’s continue to attract more fresh and sophisticated new businesses to the Western Slope. Kudos to the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and those promoting our Western Colorado lifestyle.