Darnauer Group’s Community Relations Experience (partial)

1.  Aspen/Pitkin County Airport Master Plan Update

Creating and implementing all public outreach efforts for the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport’s 20-year Master Plan Update.

Objective: Obtain Pitkin County Commissioners approval of airport plans that reflect the community’s desires.

Goal: Engage the community in the Master Plan process by educating them on the status of airport facilities, future needs and options for new facilities, and to solicit their feedback as plans develop.


    • A dynamic website – http://www.aspenairportplanning.com that is an educational tool for the public, a resource for background information and a source for all upcoming public meetings.
    • Educational displays at the airport to alert the travelling public of the plans and the process.
    • Identified Key Influencers in the mid to upper Roaring Fork Valley
    • Developed the Study Committee list of community leaders which is guiding the Master Plan team
    • Staging a series of planning meetings targeted to key user groups and leaders
    • Manage the database we created
  • Personalized e-blast campaign

2. Aspen Highlands Village

We helped develop and implement the community relations plan for developer Gerry Hines which resulted in the successful Planning & Zoning (P & Z) and Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) votes to approve the development of the base village at Aspen Highlands. Over four years, we identified stakeholders, ran numerous small group meetings to present our plans and get their feedback and managed the political hearing process to assure that interested groups were always present to testify at P&Z and BOCC meetings.

When Gerry and the Aspen Skiing Company decided to merge interests on Aspen Highlands, we handled the press conference & media announcing the deal and provided the strategy and materials needed.

3. Aspen Highlands Merchants Association (MerA), Aspen, CO – 2001-2006

Our firm managed and marketed this association of base village businesses where we were charged with developing and implementing a strategy to create awareness of the new Highlands Village and its businesses, to attract people to the plaza and drive traffic to the shops and restaurants. Our work involved staging several focus groups, strategic planning of all activities, consultation to the MerA board and all marketing and public outreach efforts to attract people and get their feedback and were involved with the political hearing process to the Village after years of construction.

Our marketing efforts included strategic event planning and production, theme development and the implementation of community relations plans. We created and produced Tuesday Night at the Movies, the Antique Car Show, Brew Fest, Maroon Bells Festival of Color and dozens of other weekly events. Our tactics included production of posters, Main Street banners, bus signs, flyers, rack cards, website and advertising plus extensive merchant promotions and publicity. The strategy of reaching out to the community was very successful. Hundreds of people attended the special events, including up to 800 at the weekly movie nights. We also staged an annual Media Day to launch each summers’ activities.

4. Riverbend, New Castle, CO – 2005-2006

In association with Lowe Enterprises, we developed and implemented a community relations outreach campaign about the proposed housing plans in order to engage existing neighbors in the process. We created surveys, fact sheets, background materials and a successful kick-off town meeting. We developed a database of stakeholders, surveyed neighbors and informed them of progress. The project was halted when negotiations between the developer and the landowner broke down.

5. Limelight Lodge, Aspen, CO – 2005-2006

We were instrumental in the community outreach campaign which led to City Council approval of this historic lodge re-development and expansion. We created fact sheets and press releases and worked with our media contacts to generate positive press. We educated neighbors and created awareness of the plans and their benefits for the community. We helped with presentations to community groups, identified supporters and secured their attendance and comments at public hearings. Our work was a significant factor in obtaining Aspen City Council approval.

6. Town of Snowmass Village (TOSV), Snowmass Village, CO – 2007-2008

We were hired to support the Town in their update of the Comprehensive Plan through a community outreach process. We provided strategic analysis and advice, designed a web masthead, a logo, a brochure, e-blasts and ads, utilized these outreach tools in the process and facilitated community feedback.

7. Cattle Creek Crossing, Glenwood Springs, CO – 2007-2008

We were part of the Smart Growth development team, providing communications analysis, strategy and community outreach programs to garner approvals for the proposed community plans. We were responsible for identifying key influencers, creating an extensive database, reaching out to community groups, creating and providing Power Point presentations and managing the developer’s public image.

Our numerous grassroots efforts were successful in garnering a unanimous P&Z decision in support of the Sketch Plan (the first step in the political process).

8. Citizens for Preservation of Zoning (Ute Avenue Neighbors), Aspen, CO – 2008-2010

We worked with Ute Avenue neighbors in successfully lobbying Aspen City Council to assure that the proposed Aspen Club lodging development did not increase traffic or impact the rural nature of Ute Avenue. We did extensive research into the history and past political issues, made presentations to Council, wrote guest columns on behalf of our clients and managed the entire outreach process for nearly two years.

9. Roaring Fork Club, Basalt, CO – 1996-2000

We helped garner approvals by Basalt Town Council for this private, environmentally-focused golf and fishing club. Following that, our primary role was to pursue an outreach campaign utilizing only relationship-based initiatives – numerous events, PR and creative strategies to reach potential new members.

10. Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Snowmass, CO – 1991-1999

We provided marketing communications services to RMI for eight years. Projects included preparing for and staging press conferences at the National Press Club in Washington, DC and promoting RMI’s “Greening of the White House” project and the “Greening of the Building and Bottom Line”.

We also planned and implemented a national book tour to launch RMI’s “Green Development” book, which included press conferences and numerous one-on-one meetings and interviews in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.