What ever happened to the Better City Economic Study?

It’s been two years since Better City, the consulting firm tasked with identifying economic development solutions for Delta and Gunnison Counties, unveiled their findings and recommendations.

While the plan was praised for its focus on organic agriculture development and agro-tourism, many criticized its lack of job creation and business diversity, two major initiatives specified in the initial grant objectives.

Funded by a $245,000 Economic Development Districts grant, Better City compiled and analyzed economic indicators about potential opportunities for growth and diversification.

So, where does it stand today?

Implementation of the plan is tasked to several organizations including Delta County Economic Development (DCED), Delta County Board of Commissioners, the City of Delta, Delta County School District, and Delta Montrose Technical College.

Eight projects were recommended but funding has limited implementation to feasibility studies and two primary projects:

  • ENGAGE Innovation Center: a multifaceted initiative that supports, leverages, and creates the resources necessary for an innovative and entrepreneurial community. A core component of ENGAGE (EN for energy, G for growth, AG for agriculture and E for entrepreneurship), is the creation of an innovation center hub located in the City of Delta, as well as future “spoke” innovation centers located throughout the county. ENGAGE will include business development and enhancement, enhanced focus on agriculture and energy innovation, entrepreneurial support and a focus on the growth of cottage industries, particularly related to value-food manufacturing. The plan includes a farm-to-market commercial kitchen and “Taste of the County” retail space. Delta Montrose Technical College has purchased the old City Market/Chaco building in downtown Delta. Next is to take the feasibility study and develop operation plans, programming and partnerships, in August DCED will seek renovation funds.

  • Redevelopment of Riverfront Gateway: includes a hotel, meeting center, restaurant, riverfront improvements and recreational assets, as well as planning for future mixed use residential, office and retail phases. Initial focus is hotel development, which has many moving parts. DCED has been working on project structuring, including local incentives. The City of Delta has established the Delta Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) and partial funds were secured last year to do River Engineering for a two mile stretch in the City of Delta.

  • As a result of the Better City process:
    – Delta County is doing the Trail Master Plan

    – City of Delta is doing Trail and Open Space Planning
    – Energy Summit to kick off the ENGAGE Center this fall
    Business Branding Blueprint Initiative
    – DCED is also submitting for two more Blueprint Initiatives next month: Co-working and applying to become a Certified Small Business Community

    NOTE: Citizen Report has asked to see the Better City report done for Gunnison County which was part of this combined-county grant project. Stand by for more.

Region 10 Photo


Phase 1 – Delta County Economic Assessment – Final1
Phase 2 – Delta County Market Assessment – Final
Delta Phase 3 – Final

Riverfront Activation Feasibility Study – FINAL
Delta Food Manufacturing_FINAL
Delta Hotel Feasibility – Revised Final