This post is solely dedicated to amplifying good news! Much of 2020 has been dominated by the pandemic and stories filled with bad or uncertain news. Today we focus on recent positive community developments – pass them on.
Colorado Mesa University is back
CMU has been a leader in Colorado, working tirelessly since March to get university students back to school and continue in-person learning. They’ve worked hand-in-hand with Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) to ensure proper health protocols are in place and COVID-19 testing is available and accurate prior to students’ arrival on campus. We know students are excited to be back, but see for yourself: Check out this fun video titled CMU is BACK.
School District 51 began in-person and online learning this week
This spring was tricky for so many families, here and across the nation, who found themselves working from home and helping their children with remote learning. District 51 has worked closely with MCPH to come up with a plan that accommodates both in-person and online learning, depending on each student’s and family’s needs, and our kids are back to school! We expect stops and starts as we continue to deal with the pandemic, possible exposures, and quarantines. However, the good news is our kids will continue learning, and accommodations have been made that allow for remote learning if and when any of these situations present themselves.
Our child care centers remain open
MCPH has been front and center during the pandemic to keep child care centers open and children and staff protected, so that working parents may continue to go to work and provide for their families. Three of our five Child Care 8,000 pilot sites received grant funding through Governor Polis’ Help Colorado Now recovery program, and we were able to provide microgrants to over 30 centers to help them continue providing support to our workforce.
Sales tax revenue is up
According to Robin Brown, Executive Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP), “Our June 2020 sales tax revenues are higher than June 2019 and we are only down 5 percent year-to-date from last year.” That’s great news because it means people are supporting our local economy through local purchases.
Airport traffic is recovering
Even without a summertime travel boost, travel through Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJRA) is recovering at almost twice the pace of traffic nationwide. According to Angela Padalecki, GJRA’s Executive Director, “Passenger traffic is back to 50% of 2019 levels.”
Mesa County’s variance is getting people back to work quicker
Because of our low positive rate and the protective measures we have in place, Mesa County has been granted a variance to the State of Colorado’s COVID-19 public health order that allows broader reopening of businesses and activities. Mesa County Workforce Center Director Curtis Englehart, drawing attention to this silver lining, says, “Our current unemployment numbers are better than the state and national average, and Mesa County is also at an 8-year high with our labor force numbers. We’re seeing more people relocating to Mesa County and recent college and high school graduates entering the workforce.” Our local economy is getting a local boost because the variance is supporting our workforce.
The real estate market is bouncing back
According to Bray Real Estate, 424 houses were sold in July, a 12% increase from last year, and the median price for homes has risen this year from $250,000 to $275,000. Additionally, their 2nd quarter commercial report notes the first and second quarter saw the highest number of commercial building permits since 2009.
Mesa County COVID numbers remain low
With a cumulative and 2-week positive rate that continues to hover around two percent, Mesa County still has one of the lowest COVID-19 rates of any metropolitan area. Hospitalizations remain low, also an indication that we are doing a good job protecting those in our community most at risk for severe outcomes due to COVID-19.
There are good things happening all around us if we look for them. As we continue to do our part to slow the spread, we’ll continue to look for these positive stories and pass them on. Good news is good for all of us to hear.