Estes Valley Partners for Commerce

PO Box 2713 Estes Park, CO 80517


EVPC Board Retreat

Monday, January 11, 2016

Stanley Hotel


Attending: Adam, Diane, Kent, Rob, Paul, Charley, Jon, Greg, Nick, Cyd, Kirby, Denise (Staff)

Absent:  Frank

Guests:  Julie, Craig, Pat Nelson, EAD Chair


Call to order

  • Kirby welcomed Denise Moore, the new EVPC Communications Coordinator and     Denise gave a brief introduction
  • December minutes were approved; Adam moved, Charley seconded, all in favor
  • January Membership Meeting:  Kirby announced that there were already 16 RSVP’s for the dinner on Thursday, Jan. 21 at the Stanley Hotel.  Denise and Kirby will work to send out reminders.  
  • Featured Speaker:  Diane reported that there was interest in having a program speaker about wellness.  There is a speaker confirmed but she has not been given a name yet.  She asked that the Foundation and Hospital Boards be invited to the dinner.  She will furnish the addresses.
  • Explore Your Store update-Charley Two years ago the program was initiated for store owners to see what other stores have but it morphed last year to work for investors as well.  It is hard to manpower but DBP, ELA, and Visit Estes Park are collaborating.  They plan to start in February and will occur the second Wednesday of each month. This will be for new and existing businesses but a priority will be given to new businesses.  They will use the shuttle.  This will not include lodging because ELA tours are going well.  Kirby commended Charley for making this a collaborative effort.   Paul:   is this for new or existing businesses?  Charley:  Both, but a priority is given to new businesses.  They will use the shuttle.  This will not include lodging because ELA tours are going well.  There is the hope that EDP will eventually take this program over.


Retreat Topics

  • Purpose:  The overreaching theme should be a strategic planning session where the board looks at the big picture as to who we want to be as an organization.  EVPC has done some incredible work in the community and it is now time decide what to launch in the future.  The questions to look at are (1) Were have we come? (2) Challenges we have seen? (3) What does the future look like?  The purpose is to come up with three takeaways, not what ifs but tangible steps.  These comments and additional questions were asked:  (1) We need a list of accomplishments so we can tell people.  (2)  How are we managing the challenges? (3) How are we going to address our goals and objectives?  (4) We need to look at our history.  If you take a look at what the board has done to help the downtown. It is great.  HOMEWORK:  Each board member should write down where they are involved in the community and represent EVPC either directly or in the background--DUE JAN. 18 so it can be presented at the Membership Dinner on Jan. 21.  ex.  State big picture--we people sit on boards and be able to explain how you represent EVPC if asked.  Transparency is vital.
  • Board Communication & Advocacy:  
  • Transparency:  There is a need to 1) look for opportunities to show more of what we do 2) communicate with membership and community--posting board meeting minutes on website is one way to do this 3) websiteDiscussion points:  the newsletter should point to website and have more on website--partnership association events--town board meetings that affect businesses--meet your board in newsletters--board minutes, add board bios to website including “why” you serve on the boardHOMEWORK:  three sentence bio due end of this monthDiscussion:  The need for transparency is not in response to any problems but is based on other organizations. We can’t blame membership for not knowing--reference links Visit Estes Park and organizations Kirby:  The membership packet is a high priority on Denise’s job description; Kirby will send out Denise’s priorities to the board 
  • Role of EVPC Board regarding “hot topics”:  The recurring question seems to be when do we stand up and advocate something and when do we question membership. (proactive vs reactive)  Discussion points:  Can an all volunteer board effectively advocate?  Maybe.  We supported a bill regarding flood recovery but we couldn’t have done it without partnering with ELA.  There is value in advocating but how do we accurately represent membership in this.  Sometimes membership disagrees.  Perhaps our purpose is to advocate to improve our business community.  What guardrails and how can we prevent from doing something that is not effective advocacy?  The purpose of EVPC is to advocate but we cannot do this separate from our membership.  When do we poll membership and when can we make decisions on their behalf?  The bylaws say that we are a representative board.  Surveys and education are the key.  Sometimes surveys aren’t practical so we need to be sure we have our fingers on the pulse of the membership.   We need an avenue for members to communicate with us.  Do we need a document that specifies when and how we advocate, when we poll the membership and when we make decisions on their behalf?  Perhaps other organizations have such a document we can look at.  Another problem in the community is a lack of good communication.  When there are differing opinions, people bully and one voice gets left out.  We should encourage honest, open, respectful communication.  Amy Holloway said she would rank us in the bottom five compared to other communities when it comes to cooperation with each other.  We need to model and be the change.  We can speak out when people are not being fair.    TAKE AWAY:  We need a statement about methods of behavior that are not progressive toward the business community...a policy statement about advocacy.  It is EVPC’s job to educate and inform the community about why things are good for the business community and why they are not.  We should be proactive in education and visible.  We need to build a foundation of what gives us the right to say what we say.  Motion:  We ask to have a representative once a month on the agenda for the 4th Tuesday Trustee meeting and EVPC board members will rotate giving a brief update/report to the town.  seconded and passed unanimouslyDiscussion points:  How do we know how the membership feels?  Surveys, twice a year ( or quarterly corresponding with membership dinners) for general information and short one question surveys as the need arises, suggestion box and a short program at Business After Hours, GUIDELINES FOR ADVOCACY:  1) feedback box at Business After Hours 2) electronic survey--start with one now and then sort out how ofter 3) present the feedback to the membership.  Who gets the feedback?  All businesses gets some to show the benefit of membership and membership gets more detailed and frequent information.   Motion:  We immediately send out a survey.  seconded and passed unanimously
  • Vision for EVPC’s role in 2016 (& beyond)
  • Estes Arts District:  Pat Nelson, EAD Chair spoke about Estes Arts District, Pat:  statistics (from a huge 2010 study and many regional studies) show that arts districts in CO bring in revenue and jobs.  The philosophy of EAD is not to superimpose an arts district on the town but rather integrate into the community working with other organizations.  EAD is working on a certification which is not needed from the state but makes sense to get.  The description on the application will have a more artsy vibe than touristy and they need help getting the do our stories-from a historical, as well as an artistic perspective--relate the town to the district.  The goal is for a walkable district.  Working with the town, we have permission to mark the perimeter with the EAD signs, have talked about artists painting the town (iepainting on buildings, mail boxes, utility boxes.)  The key is make it visible.  We are talking to different groups and have not concentrated on raising funds yet--encouraging that people look at Estes Park as an artistic community--allow younger people to paint windows,, murals, etc.  Art month is March so maybe next year we can have someone paint windows with removable paint.  We are seeking any sort of retail support and looking for partnerships with businesses; we do not want a whole new identity but an added emphasis on art.  We are working with Visit Estes Park. This incorporates creative too; it is not just visual arts and this includes things like breweries. We have talked about a cooperative and are wondering if there is a property that would lend itself to a cooperative--or an art trek where local artists are located in vacant properties on certain nights.  TAKEAWAY:  Ask membership if they have a story (in a very easy format.)  Discussion points:  It is important to show businesses how this will positively impact businesses downtown.  I find it interesting it has taken so long but now there is momentum; these things take time but it is going in a positive direction.  Pat asked for information if we hear feedback so they can be proactive.  They now have CO nonprofit status and are working on a good strategy so they can have a big perceived value before they seek membership.  They meet from 5-7 PM one Wednesday a month in the form of a moving venue open house.  Can we use this as a Business After Hours event?  Pat has been asked to come to our board meetings so we can work together.  Paul will do research to seen if there are workshops that EVPC could sponsor.   These would be a big help.  A few years ago the library sponsored Leading Edge, perhaps with partnership we could offer SPDC?  As we move forward excited that our organization can be the one who can do education about what art is--even a sewer lid was designed by someone.  We need to educate our membership as to how valuable this is.  Pat said they meet at Greg Mile’s Studio every two weeks and they are open to anyone.  Kirby asked Pat to send that information to her and she will send it to the board.  
  • Estes Park EDC Initiatives, including strategic plan: Jon--  We just had a great meeting last week; as result of flood got we grant for 3 projects 1) plan for strategic development with 4 major themes 1-infrastructure including large capital projects 2-business climate--how do we get infrastructure in place 3-entrepreneurship and innovation   4-workforce and education also capacity building and marketingEDPC was identified by Avalanche as important in these areas.   There were almost 800 responses to their online questionnaire.  Estes Park EDC was identified as aleader to strengthen and be the business voice for community collaboration and trying to get Visit Estes Park business associations and Estes Park EDC to work together toward a unified brand for business attraction.  What role does each organization have, where do we take leadership and where are we in partnership?  Part of the overall regional strategy is to have an arts district--so we are supportive. We know that having creative arts promoted in your town creates a climate that brings in millennials and a good creative work force.  Economic development used to try to attract large scale businesses to our costs money to compete but we try to attract them but people like Richard Florida and others have changed this.  Economic development now includes attracting work force etc...based on the size of our community this attraction is dependent on regional efforts...something like an arts district will be more effective than trying to compete for big fish.  EVPC has big role in “brand” for Estes Park.  There needs to be some kind of eduction that gives businesses opportunity to see themselves as a producer instead of just a retailer.  Perhaps there is more of “made in Estes Park” than we realize but isn’t visible enough.  As we talk about capacity building, collaboration is important.  Can this become an inform committee or interest group for EVPC to encourage businesses to work together to help each other out and create a better community?  Also on capacity building, we want to use our bilingual resources.  We are considering starting a One Million Cups ( chapter here in Estes Park.  There are chapters in Ft.  Collins, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Denver and about 75-80 nationwide.  Chapters meet and have start p companies come and pitch their ideas.  Discussion:  How can we maintain and improve our relationship with the Hispanic community?  Can we invite someone to be a board member or come speak to the board concerning Hispanic interests?  We would solicit across the front range and beyond and not just limit it to our local economy.  This would give people the idea that Estes Park is a place to do business..  It’s a nice platform that already exists.  Another areas is business mentorship...One Million Cups is a part of that.    Library Days was too but sometimes the volunteers had no work.  The Estes Park EDC is about to hire a new person and doubling the staff will help them to be able to be a resource.  The Estes Park EDC will have an advocacy role in workforce education and housing.  Downtown Master Planning:    There is a downtown master planning team/committee some of whom have urban planning experience.  There is some representation from EVPC (Greg and Cyd) and there are some downtown businesses on this too.  This is very comprehensive anda difficult process.  Estes Park EDC will have an advocacy role for the three biggest components:  1)broadband 2)workforce housing, and 3) development code.  Discussion points:  There is a need for us to maintain and nurture our relationship with the Hispanic community.    Education is important and we play a role in that.  We need to improve our communication process and dovetail the Avalanche report into our communications.  It would give EVPC credibility as well.  This is an excellent time to do a survey and start a culture of relationships.  Do some of these items on the list fit into our current committee structure?  Can membership via committees help us to do some of the things we have been charged to do?  The key to the Avalanche Report is to help us think strategically as a community.  Motion:  Kirby will write a letter to Estes Park EDC thanking them for allowing their director to sit on our board explaining how helpful it is to us.  seconded and passed (Greg recused)
  • The Stanley Campus:  The 4th floor is no longer on the table.  How can we engage our membership on the Wellness Center?-- GregIn terms of Wellness Center, hospital will be giving an update to the trustees as to what they feel their role is in wellness program in relation to lot 4.  From the Stanley side, John Cullen is ready to move forward.  There will be a wellness program on main floor of hotel; we can do this much quicker than EPMC.  Moving forward with the Wellness Center isn’t a conflict but rather beneficial because whole wellness concept is so large.  The Stanley can move forward and the two will not be in competition (2 for price of 1.)  EPMC has a program that is already being enforced and they will move forward with the parcel of land and The Stanley will move forward in a way that will compliment.  We have already asked that a wellness program goes into first floorThe use has been allowed but since it is over 5,000 sq. ft. the trustees need to focus...the other side has focused on the Stanley...the scope is very big and the Stanley is helping to prove that---being part of a broader program...we can get that off the ground now and then the community can integrate.  There will be two buildings, one floor and hotel and then EPMC will be in the second building.  If there is any way that EPMC can create a financial component they will be included...there is no contingent liability contractual component.  The land was voted on with a condition that if EPMC had not done a certain amount by a certain date...EPMC is asking for an extension on the time to give make their portion of the money.  They will either come up with the money or get the extension.  It is still a 99 year lease.  The relationship between EPMC and John Cullen...John put down one million and the town carried $650,000 note coming due end of April 2016.  Three things had to happen, 1) the town must be paid...lots of contingencies...the town of Estes Park has a contribution to the Wellness Center and EPMC also has a part that they pay.  If the town does not allow the extension somebody has to pay...if the hospital didn’t go forward the John Cullen pays it all and he gets the property.  The Stanley is permitted to build a 48 room hotel.  They are going ahead with the Wellness Center.  In order for the wellness process there is only one pathway and that is to approve the wellness portion of the hotel.  If they don’t get 4th floor they will build what is there now.  Discussion points:  There is a perception that this is the Stanley vs EPMC instead of a focus on wellness.  There is much angst centered around the 30’ height variances in the community.  The wellness concept goes much wider than just EPMC and includes initiatives such as The Vegetable Peddler, State of Slim, made in Estes Park, menu information etc.  There is a need for an understanding of collation between the Stanley and EPMC.
  • Film Center: --JonThey are still working with the state and it is moving forward but it is a very slow process.  What can be negotiated if not the amount?  How it is managed?  It is very detailed what the state requires...the board is meeting later this month.  Kirby noted that some of these things are just things that will help uswhere no action is needed. 
  • Rocky Mountain Performing Arts Center: --AdamLeading up to Feb. 2, the last planning commission had great support and no opposition.  They voted unanimously to approve to the town that they support the center.  For a long time we have tried to get a performing arts center and we have never been this close.  We are more and more viable every day so now people are starting to get excited.  We have answers to the hot button questions (parking height.)  We aregoing before Town Board on 26th and if they say yes the last hurdle is the Feb. 2 Board of Adjustments with a couple of conditions, dark sky requirements, height...etc...once we get complete town approval we become more viable..we have people who say we will give x dollars if a b and c happen.  We invite you to come on the 26 to show community support.  Discussion points:  The boutique hotel concept helps make this more viable; they are looking at impact investing; they are hoping to make a pitch to hundreds of investors in Denver.  EVPC can help by getting information out to the community.  The Stanley and RMPAC are very much behind the this.  They need to raise $25 million but have a contract for rent to be paid (The Barrel) until they have the money to purchase the land.
  • Downtown Visioning:--Kirby reported for Frank who couldn’t be here but these are the people who have been named to the Steering Committee:  Kimberly Campbell, Tom Dority, Sue Doylen, Ann Finley, Ginny McFarland, Holly Moore, Greg Rosner, Cydney Springer, Frank Theis, Ron Wilcocks, and Faith Zimmerman.   Discussion points:  The NPA project finishes in April at the earliest and maybe as late as June.  We need to be prepared for this.  We can depend a lot of Frank on sharing this information with us.
  • Town Board Elections:--Kirby:  Is there an interest in endorsing candidates?  Does the task force to vet reconvene?  Discussion points:  It is important for the community to know where the candidates stand on things.  Is there anything like this happening and if not do we want to step forward?  Would we invite the membership or have it open to everyone?  Do we endorse candidates? If so, it would have to be based on a polling of the membership.  There is not a complete list of candidates yet.  Do we video it an post it on our website?  What is the advantage to doing this in addition to LWV?  ELA is doing one, can we collaborate?  Is there anyone we want to encourage to run?  If we want to look for candidates we should go through the Citizen’s Academy.  Adam will will send the list of the latest graduates to Kirby. HOMEWORK:   Consider people you might want to encourage.  Also, think about whether or not we want to endorse and we will discuss it at the next meeting.
  • Association Capacity Building: 
  • Interest Groups:  Right now we have two interest groups, Downtown Business Partners and Restaurant Partners.  Do we want to continue as we are with interest groups or are they looking at becoming separate groups?  Discussion points:  Do we want organizations to break away or function as a committee?  We structured it so it would be easy for them to do either.  how do we best serve the businesses and how do we get membership more involved in committees?  Perhaps it would be better to have one committee with representative for each group instead of three separate committees.  How would this happen?  Why has there been a drop in involvement?
  • Next Steps-facilitated forums for association representatives:  Craig has agreed to facilitate the forum and is waiting to hear back from Karen so we can get a date.
  • Committees & Committee Structure:  Kirby:  We now have 5 committees (Advocacy, Membership, Communication, Events, and Education) and we have just talked about interest groups to becoming committees.  Do we feel these five committees are still viable?    Discussion points:  Are we even using our committees?  Some are and some only as needed.  There is a need to recruit committee members.  Should advocacy be a committee or it a function of the board?  Each committee chair should come up with a job description and present it to the board--when are your meetings, what are your responsibilities, and what is your mission.  Committee membership ties into our visibility in the community and education.  Ask members if they would like to do programs for the members.  Maybe we should ask our membership.  Other organizations are doing good education pieces that might be helpful to our membership.  Can we communicate these things?  Kirby read the Benefits of Membership document.  Are we offering what our members need?  We need to consider how we are helping businesses in the community and communicate it in real terms.  What if we, at one of our dinners, depending on our budget, we create a financial benefit for a working dinner, each person placed at a table and each table has a moderator. We get membership in the room and we get membership to do the work then we compile it back for them.  Can we do this at the April dinner?  Paul, Nick, Craig, Julie, and Cyd will work on this concept and come back with something at the next meeting.  The short list to take away form today’s meeting:  1) We need a board member to speak to the Town Board meetings. 2) We would like to have a survey out before the dinner meeting. 3) Each board member should be thinking about and contact people might be encouraged to run for Trustee.


Next board meeting:  Tuesday, February 16 @ 8:00 AM