Silverton, Colorado is a small mountain town with a year-round population of around 400 that increases to 1000+ in the summer months. The community has experienced an increase in tourism and popularity in recent years due to its mountain town character and access to year-round outdoor recreation. However, Silverton is home to several brownfield sites, some of which have hindered the local economy.
In 2015, an accident occurred at the abandoned Gold Key Mine, releasing toxic waste water into the Animas River. The community was able to utilize the Superfund program to cleanup the mess, but the effects of the disaster and other brownfield sites within their community still have a hold on their economy. While these sites seem troublesome, they also offer great economic opportunity for the town.
In 2019, the Colorado Brownfields Partnership hosted a workshop with the Silverton community to discuss using state brownfields resources, as well as additional strategies, to build a stronger local economy. Although these strategies had potential, the community realized they needed to reach consensus on community values and create a vision before planning for the future.
To help them in this effort, the Colorado Brownfields Partnership and Community Builders have entered into a visioning project with the Silverton community. This year-long project seeks the following outcomes:
- A clear, community-driven vision for the future.
- A list of community goals, principles, or values to help guide future decision making.
- Prioritized strategies and actions that will make the vision reality.
By supporting a community-wide vision through assistance, the Partnership believes Silverton will be able to move towards strategies identified in the process that will equip the community to tackle future brownfield projects. This project is on-going and will wrap up in winter of 2021.