Garfield County commissioners lend grant support to Carbondale, west GarCo organizations

Garfield County commissioners began the new year Monday by handing out grant money to several area programs aimed at economic development, including $20,000 for the 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale.

“I see us as ambassadors of the county,” said Regna Jones, the new 5Point Film Festival executive director who joined the festival in November, coming from Aspen Film.

“This is one of those organizations that really shows us what we are about here in Garfield County in terms of people and landscape and things that we care about,” Jones said.

The 5Point Film Festival takes place in Carbondale April 25-28. The annual film festival, heading into its 12th year, brings together a slate of adventure movies and includes filmmakers, special guests and presentations.

“The festival hopes to inspire adventure of all kinds, connect generations through shared experience and educate through film,” according to its mission.

Garfield County has supported the festival for a number of years, and on Monday that support continued.

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“We want to make sure that partnership is honored in a way that feels mutual,” Jones added. “Bringing it home. Bringing it local means the world to me.”

Jones called the festival one of the gems of the community, and on Monday she said how honored she was to now be a part of it.

The festival seeks to show human-based stories from all over the world using adventure storytelling.

During Monday’s grant hearing, Commissioner Mike Samson made sure to introduce Jones to Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Michel Langhorne and Assistant Director Katie Mackley. Samson said he hopes to see the festival make more connections in Rifle and western Garfield County.

“They represent the Rifle EDC, and the reason I want to bring them to your attention is because you mentioned you could do something for western Garfield County,” he said. “I appreciate you saying that.”

Jones said she’s very open to partnering more with Rifle and the Ute Theater in particular, and said “the sky’s the limit” for what can be done in Rifle.

She said she hopes to bring 5Point screenings farther downvalley, and even mentioned Rifle’s rock climbing community as a potential focal point for the organization.

On Monday, the commissioners supported the festival with $20,000 through the nonprofit general fund.

Community Counts receives $20,000

Community Counts, which works to facilitate dialogue between communities and the energy and extraction industries, updated the commissioners on some of its 2018 numbers while also requesting continued support from Garfield County for 2019.

The commissioners supported the nonprofit organization with $20,000.

From its response line, which continues to be a resource for western Garfield County residents to share concerns, Community Counts received five direct calls concerning odors in Garfield County, eight calls concerning speeding or careless driving, and two additional calls for haul route concerns.

Nita Smith, Community Counts executive director, said Garfield County started with six drilling rigs in January and held at five rigs for most of the year. The current rig count is at five.

Community Counts also sent out a variety of information to its members in 2018, including information on numerous fire updates provided from the U.S. Forest Service, BLM and county officials, as well as information on road closures and updates.

Community Counts serves Garfield, Mesa and Rio Blanco counties.

Rifle EDC requests $15,000

Weeks after receiving $20,000 from the county commissioners in December, the Rifle EDC directors were in front of the commissioners again on Monday asking for an additional $15,000 for its new workspace.

The organization will be opening a small business hub in Rifle, similar to The Coop in Glenwood Springs, and is currently in the process of building out the office space.

In December, Mackley said they hope to open the space next month.

The $15,000 from the commissioners would be used to assist in constructing the coworking space in Rifle, she said.

“We’ve had ongoing conversations about the coworking space and the benefit it will have on economic development to the western end of Garfield County,” Mackley explained.

Garfield County’s support comes in addition to a $25,000 investment from the private sector, $10,000 from Rifle via the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, as well as $10,000 from the Rifle EDC itself, according to Mackley.

When asked how much interest the new coworking space has received, Mackley said the response has been very enthusiastic.

“I’m very excited about the collaboration I’ve seen from the entire valley,” she added. “All of us working together will benefit the county as a whole.”

The commissioners approved the $15,000 request for the build-out of the coworking space from the general fund.

BOCC Grant awards

$20,000 – 5 Point Film Festival

$20,000 – Community Counts

$15,000 – Rifle Regional Economic Development Corporation

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