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New Economic Development Director Says Collaboration Key to Healthy Community


Rachael Marchbanks is the new economic and community development director for the City of Cortez, but you can expect her to work on projects across political and governmental jurisdictions in the area. This story is sponsored by TruWest Auto and FASTSIGNS


Rachael Marchbanks is no stranger to Cortez and Montezuma County. In fact, she knows the area quite well and hopes to bring that knowledge of the county's various communities to the table in her new position, as the community and economic development director with the City of Cortez. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by TruWest Auto and Fastsigns. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Earlier this year, the city of Cortez reorganized its management structure to create a community and economic development position that will oversee planning, building, code enforcement community outreach, and economic development. They chose Rachael Marchbanks, a 20 year resident of Montezuma county to head the new department. Montezuma county residents may recognize Marchbanks as a former member and mayor of the Mancos town council and as an economic development consultant for both the town of Mancos and Montezuma county. In fact right before she joined the City of Cortez, she successfully obtained a $500,000 grant for downtown Mancos to spruce up its storefront facades to attract more visitors. Now as the region seeks to rebuild the economy as the pandemic wanes, Marchbanks anticipates working not only with Cortez businesses but other entities as well.

It's hard to say that good things have actually come out of a pandemic, but I think we've all realized that we're not on our own little islands, that we're all connected and interrelated and you know what we might work in one area and live in another and shop in another and go to the doctor in another. And it's about having a good quality of life and I think all of us want that.

Marchbanks will start building more economic resiliency by working with existing businesses and industries.

The three main economic drivers are extraction such as oil and gas. And to some extent, other extraction like timber, lumber. Agriculture is the other part of the three-legged stool, and then tourism. And those are the three main economic drivers and we're looking to see how we can support those industries and perhaps add some others to help diversify the economy.

Marchbanks says she already sees positive signs of cooperation between government entities as the county and city rebuild their local economies. The city and counties recent efforts to jointly invest in high speed fiber optics is an example of inter-governmental collaboration and she expects to see more.

I think there's a lot of really good things going. Some critical mass I would call it as far as just folks are coming together and wanting to really create a better quality of life for the county. And I feel like we're working well together and I'm excited about the possibilities.

You can reach Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network, I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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