Summit Chamber of Commerce forms economic recovery team to assist local businesses during and after shutdown
DILLON — The Summit Chamber of Commerce is spearheading an effort to launch a COVID-19 relief strategy, called the Summit Strategic Economic Recovery Team, which aims to assist residents and businesses through the current economic pause and in the aftermath of the public health crisis.
The team will focus on five areas to navigate the current economy and provide aid: federal programs, state programs, local initiatives, private business efforts and individual support, according to a news release from the chamber.
The group will attempt to make new programs or initiatives easier for the public to understand by “translating” opportunities and pulling information together to create a single resource guide. The team also plans to provide assistance to businesses by advocating for Summit County to the state and federal governments based on the economic nature of the county.
Blair McGary, executive director of the Summit Chamber of Commerce, said the team is attempting to create a more centralized focus of economic efforts.
“We’re so fortunate here in Summit County to have such strong towns,” McGary said. “They’re doing great work in their business communities … but it leaves a gap for the rest of the county.”
McGary pointed out that Summit County doesn’t have an economic development council and that one of the long-term goals of the team is to create one. However, the short-term goal is to help people wade through the resources currently available.
“The goal is to really be the hub of new information that’s coming out and to really translate that information for our community,” McGary said.
McGary said she anticipates the new resource will publish in the next day or two. She added that the chamber is working to disseminate information to state legislators.
“We see it as our role to be the middleman to speak to our state legislators about what are the holes in some of these stimulus packages right now,” McGary said. “Once we open up again, the conversation then turns to recovery.”
After recovery, McGary said the third phase is transitioning the team into acting as a type of economic development council to be in place for years to come. While Summit County’s economy is largely tourism driven, she hopes the team will help the local economy diversify and be more resilient to future downturns.
“The take home is, this is a very tough time for our community, and if anything, we can see it as an opportunity to build ourselves up to make us more resilient,” McGary said.
The towns of Blue River, Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne — along with the Summit County government, The Summit Foundation and the Summit Prosperity Initiative — have “all committed to collaborating on this effort,” according to the release.
The town of Frisco, which started its own strategic economic response team in March, hopes to bring some experience to the chamber’s initiative, according to Frisco spokeswoman Vanessa Agee, who said Frisco will provide a representative for the team.
“The town of Frisco is committed to being a positive force in this countywide collaborative effort, and that will guide our participation,” Agee wrote in an email.
Breckenridge spokeswoman Haley Littleton said the town also will assign someone to represent Breckenridge in the group. Blue River spokeswoman Michelle Eddy said that since Blue River does not have any businesses, the town’s role will be one of support.
Silverthorne spokeswoman Kim Jardim explained that certain staff have been assigned to coordinate with the chamber, as well as other local jurisdictions, to assist local businesses as much as possible. The town has tasked Arts & Culture Manager Sydney Schwab to act as the business recovery liaison.
“The town of Silverthorne is committed to standing by our businesses and helping connect them with available resources as this emergency situation continues,” Schwab wrote in an email.
The Summit Chamber of Commerce is also asking that private businesses, nonprofits and individuals who have a background in economic development and an interest in the team’s efforts contribute to the initiative. Those who are interested should email McGary at email@example.com.
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