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In last week’s cover story, Mayor Aragon responded to news about the upcoming Reservoir Hill election by stating that opponents of the proposed amusement park are “alarmed for no reason at all.”
Well, his honor got it half right: I’m alarmed, but I’ve got my reasons:
• Alpine coasters, zip lines, corn dog stands and waiting cues represent a dramatic change to the current personality of our peaceful, wooded hill.
• A $4.3 million price tag for our very own “Six-Flags Over Pagosa” feels like anything but a bargain during these economically-challenging times.
• Repayment of the ensuing debt is premised upon putting 100 paying bottoms in the seats of a single ride, every hour, 10 hours a day, 31 days out of the month during the summer. That seems like a wildly-optimistic 1,000 riders a day, every day, rain, shine and lightning storms be-darned.
• The town hangs its claim of widespread support for the amusement park upon the signatures of 730 approving survey respondents. The town, however, fails to mention that only 27 of those respondents (4 percent) are town voters, the people who’ll have to stare out their window at the hilltop carnival.
• The town’s hand-picked engineer characterizes use of the 40-year-old recycled chairlift as unwise and unsafe. Enough said for me.
So, when I review all of these facts and then hear about the mayor’s plans to move forward regardless, I do get alarmed. Guilty as charged. And to his point that the time for expressing these concerns has passed, I respectfully disagree. The town might have conducted meetings during which the floor was open for the public to voice their opposition. However, as that exercise has since revealed, there is a huge difference between being politely listened to, and being sincerely heard.