What a great time of year! The holidays are past and the 1st semester is coming to a close. Parents, please remind your children there are just a few weeks left to complete makeup work and solidify their 2nd quarter grades. Our teachers return to begin remediation and skills building, as we prepare students for the end-of-year exams that determine how our schools will compare with other schools of similar size and demographics.
One of my sons is very similar to me in his analysis of business opportunities in Garfield County. The thing we agree on the most is that Garfield County is a giant gold nugget that has not yet been found. As we talked, there are so many variations of effective business models that simply do not apply to Garfield County because the economy is so seasonal. As a result, the enrollment that I wish for schools and the population for income do not share to same season. Schools are built with winter populations and Garfield’s current economy is built from an obvious non-winter population. As a result, the transient workers leave as the seasons change and take what few students they brought with them away. As a result, populations dwindle and so do our school enrollments.
While there exist several scenarios to combat these issues, a winter economy would surely help. But to have a winter economy, we have to develop something for people to have a reason to come here for. I am sure the limited tourist draw in winter months could be increased to a target level. Maybe a major investment in an auto service gas /restaurant /motel /convenience store on US89, or perhaps enhanced winter recreation opportunities at Panguitch Lake. What if natural resources could be accessed and developed in Garfield County such as proven lumber, hidden coal, and gas and oil reserves. Perhaps “enterprise zones” could be negotiated with the feds to bolster the local economy while existing in harmony with the massive federal land holdings.
I believe the future of Garfield County looks great and the eye of the world is upon us. I hope we take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves.
—Tracy Davis, Superintendent, Garfield County School District