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Wally Wallace
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City’s new economic development coordinator brings fresh perspective to growing local economy

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Wallace

Wallace wasted no time in jumping into city projects to learn as much as he could. Seen here, Wallace meets to discuss progress and concerns with others involved. From left to right, Wally Wallace, Space to Create Oversight board member Geoff Peterson and Marilyn Leuszler, and Artspace Director Andrew Michaelson.

As Trinidad continues to grow and revitalize itself, the city is continuing to change and expand their ability to adequately and effectively manage that growth. One such expansion was the recent hiring of Economic Development Coordinator Wally Wallace, who began his position September 1.

Wallace is excited for a chance to use his skills to bring economic opportunities to Trinidad, having worked in a number of team oriented and managerial positions.

“My ability to think creatively and network will no doubt be beneficial to me in this position,” Wallace said. “I’ve been in managerial positions since I was 18 and have always worked in team settings or had people working under my supervision. I’ve always been recognized for being able to think creatively and organize people and also had a lot of experience in fundraising being in the radio industry. I’ve also worked with policies in the past in my experience with public media.”

Having worked in the arts and media, he understands the importance of the arts with Trinidad being a Colorado Creative District.

 “I come from the creative industry,” said Wallace. “I’ve worked in film, television, and radio most of my career so creative arts is really important to me. Right now I’m trying to catch up on everything that’s happening with Space to Create. Eventually my office will be in the Main Street Space to Create location. I’ll be the person responsible for leasing out the space and working with developers to put everything in there. We still need to generate close to a million dollars to get it to where it really needs to be, so I’ll be looking for grants and different ways to secure that. But meanwhile we also have all these other projects going on too.”

By other projects, some of what he’s talking about is the new purchase of Fishers Peak, the ongoing development of La Puerta, renovations to Fox Theater, and the expansion trails from downtown to Trinidad Lake State Park.

“I moved here because I see all the potential,” said Wallace with a smile. “The growth happening here has generated a lot of excitement not only for the residents but everyone that passes through as well.”

People passing through is one aspect Wallace said he wants to capitalize on.

“Trinidad has a gift with the fact that the interstate passes through here,” he said. “It’s really just trying to get people to realize this is a destination they should be stopping. Other towns with smaller populations, like Salida, have really leveraged their natural resources to integrate a lot of economic prosperity around recreational use of those resources, and tried to do it in a sustainable way with low environmental impact that has had a huge return for them. I feel like Trinidad is no different.”

Wallace has already begun looking into the needs of the community as far as economics go and is starting to see a portrait of what is needed.

“There are three types of people coming through,” Wallace noted. “There are those passing through on their way to some place where they can do the recreational activities they’re looking for. The second are people that are here for cannabis tourism, which is a big portion of the people coming here. Then there’s the retirement age group that are coming here looking at real estate and need to be here a few days to get a feel of the town. So, we already have the people that are looking to move here and looking for opportunities here. My biggest concern is to find a way to diversify the economy more and make it more interesting for the people who aren’t coming here for cannabis. Especially since it’s most likely going to be available everywhere soon.”

As other states start to legalize the sale of medical and recreational cannabis, Wallace is aware that the city needs to be effective with how it spends those tax revenues.

“We are on a little bit of a clock right now,” Wallace said. “We’re getting so much support from the cannabis tax revenue and we really need to be taking advantage of that and spending that money wisely while its coming in so that when it does level out we still have other opportunities to continue to grow with other revenues. So I will be trying to figure out what those other revenues will be and how to make that a sustainable thing for this community. It’s tricky but very possible.

Wallace is known for being an individual who can bring people together and think creatively around problem solving and explains he will continue to do all he can to move the community forward.

“I’m always working to develop my skills more,” said Wallace. “There are a lot of transitions happening so as of now I’m really carefully evaluating what I can realistically accomplish in my role and how I can be of help to this community.”

Wallace has already begun looking into the needs of the community, starting to see portrait of what is needed

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