Banking on Green River: Part I
Green River Chamber holds first economic summit to promote Green River
|The Green River itself is an integral part of the Green River community. It provides culinary water, irrigation water and recreational opportunities.|
The Green River Chamber of Commerce sponsored its first economic development summit on Feb. 22 at the John Wesley Powell River History Museum. Four facilitators aided in the discussion of economic development opportunities for Green River. The summit goers split into four different groups and moved from session to session as the day proceeded and then back as a group for the final session.
Bim Oliver was the facilitator for the branding segment. He is the state coordinator for the Utah Pioneer Communities/Main Street Program. Oliver said branding is all about establishing a distinct, positive, marketable community identity for Green River. An important element of branding is to deliver on your promises with a sustained effort. It doesn't happen overnight and you need to be willing to put forth the effort for the long haul.
You need to define who you want to be and who you are now. What traditions, events, places and people most clearly define what Green River is? These types of questions must be answered in developing your brand. Oliver said you need to look at your assets and resources and how your community has been defined historically and how it is defined today. Oliver asked the group to list the assets of Green River. Among those listed included location with I-70 and the railroad being close at hand. Accessibility to recreation areas was also listed. Remoteness with nothing close by was listed as an asset. Assets also included watermelon and agriculture, Melon Days Celebration, boom and bust cycle history, outlaw history, non-Mormon settlers, Spanish Trail, explorers, trappers and the former missile site were listed as well as the climate. After Oliver compiled the lists he would ask the group to vote on their top three choices.
Oliver suggested looking at the current identity and how we think others perceive Green River. Some suggested that Green River is viewed as a rest stop along I-70 and the road to get to somewhere else and not a destination spot, perse. Some people may think there is "nothing to do in Green River."
|Connie Copenhaver, Green River Chamber of Commerce opens the summit.|
Green River is noted for its watermelons and the Melon Days celebration. The Green River itself plays an important role in the identity of Green River. Some felt that people see Green River as two exits on the freeway with an east and west interchange and nothing in-between, no identity. Some people view Green River as only a once a year stop for Melon Days, work to change that perception is needed. Other perceptions included it being, "hot," with high gasoline prices. Some view Green River as just a place to get services, gas, food and a motel room. Some people perceived that others may view the town as uninviting and unattractive.
Oliver then addressed and questioned the group on their feelings on how Green River perceives itself. The group believes that Green River residents appreciate the wide-open spaces surrounding Green River and the opportunities this space affords them. Residents and nonresidents alike feel like Green River is on the way to somewhere. Green River needs to do a better job communicating what's great about Green River and inviting people here. It is a positive thing that Green River offers around the clock services. When people come to Green River and see what it has to offer then they want to stay.
Oliver said that Green River needs a message to convey what Green River has to offer by way of recreation. Within an hour's drive there are many attractions which can be reached. With Green River as the gateway to many one-of-a-kind attractions, a campaign can be launched to get people here to stay a few days. The group listed the many things to do and places to see within close proximity to Green River. The Green River Golf Course, San Rafael Swell, local museums, Dead Horse Point, the Green River, Henry and LaSal Mountains and the Book Cliffs, Crystal Geyser, Sego Canyon, Range Creek, just to name a few.
"You need to create a strong identity and a strong experience for those who come here," said Oliver.