||Municipalities Matter – Fostering innovation
By Sam Mamet, CML executive director
In my travels around Colorado, I am fascinated by the innovative spirit our communities help foster. I recently had a chance to visit two of those places – Steamboat Springs and Walden – to say hello to some of their municipal leaders.
City Manager Deb Hinsvark hosted me in Steamboat. It is amazing what is going on there! The Denver Post recently featured the city as a hotbed of innovation. The community fosters innovation among its businesses and encourages outside-the-box thinking. This seems to be having a tangible impact upon the local economy, which boasts more than a dozen outdoor companies – that is only fitting because this is a great community in which to have a lot of outdoor fun and to do business with a supportive city government.
The Town of Walden, a great little community and the moose-viewing capital of the state, where I met with Town Administrator Jane Berry, incorporates innovation in a different way. Fifteen years ago, the town lost its natural gas provider. Walden took control of the situation by forming its own municipal gas utility – of all the public gas providers in the nation, it is the only one that serves two states (Colorado, of course, and our neighbor, Wyoming). This is embracing innovation on your own terms!
Encouraging innovation to enhance the quality of life for Coloradans is what the 1,800 men and women who serve as city and town elected officials do all of the time.
How does your community support – and recognize – innovation? I would love to hear from you!