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Westside Visitor Center opens in Country Center Plaza

The Pagosa Springs area now has two visitor locations to serve our local clientele and visitors.

A scaled-down version of the extensive downtown Visitor Center has opened in the Country Center Plaza, just a few doors down from City Market. The center is located between the UPS Store and Aspentree Veterinary Clinic.

While we are still building on the content for the center, it is complete with guides, and local and regional information. In the immediate future, there will be space for real estate and business information, as well as economic development information, including Region 9 and the Small Business Development Center out of Fort Lewis.

The space was considered due to comments by visitors indicating they didn’t know there was a downtown area with an information center and from people needing information but not wanting to come downtown.

The idea was a topic of discussion for a Visitor Center subcommittee consisting of members from the Chamber, TTC and CTC boards. We researched the space and, after many site visits and discussions, the Community Development Corporation approached the Chamber about sharing a space at the Country Center. The space was determined to be a good location; it is in a high traffic area within the hub of stores, just off the highway and close to the timeshare and condo rental markets. The space is open and inviting and also offers conference room space.

While the Chamber believed a westside center would give visitors another place to obtain information, it is also another location to promote our businesses. However, with the downtown center being funded by lodging tax dollars, the Chamber also felt that the westside center should be funded in the same manner. With the 2012 budget session in full swing, the Chamber approached both the town and the county for funding. The county allocated funds that the Chamber will manage in 2012 to run the westside center. Unfortunately, due to other tourism commitments, the Town Tourism Committee allocated only a small amount, with the suggestion to raise funds through advertising. The Chamber still believes in the project and will do the best we can with the resources we have.

We know that it will take a little time for the westside center to catch on. We also know that the holidays and the summer months will be our busiest times on the west side of town. Therefore, at this time, the westside center will run on an abbreviated schedule. During the Christmas holidays, the westside center will be open every day. However, after that time, the center will be open Friday-Monday to accommodate weekend traffic and timeshare check-ins. The downtown center will continue to be open seven days a week, with abbreviated hours on the weekend: Saturday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ). Both visitor centers will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

We are excited to add this amenity to our community. If you are interested in volunteering at either Visitor Center, contact Patricia at 264-2360. We would be happy to work with your schedule and conduct some training. Stop by the westside center and say “Hi” to the volunteers and see our new facility. We look forward to giving our businesses even more exposure while capturing additional visitors who may not have taken the time to visit our downtown location.

Volunteer and Citizen of the Year

You have three weeks to fill out your nomination forms for the Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards and turn them in at the Chamber. The winners will be announced at the Chamber annual meeting on Saturday, Jan. 21. The event will be held at the Pagosa Center for the Arts and an evening of dinner, dancing, a silent auction and festivities is planned.

The Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards are just one way our community thanks individuals or groups that give so much to the success of Pagosa. Without these people, our community would not have the vitality that it does.

In either citizen or volunteer categories, nominees can be an individual, couple or group.

The Citizen of the Year must have lived in the community for at least three years. They must also have changed the landscape of the community through cultural, philanthropic, economic or lifestyle contributions. The nominees are reviewed by a panel of community volunteers who base their decisions on the information provided on the nomination forms. Therefore, it is important to fill out the forms and give as much information as you can about the nominee. Please, don’t put just their name on the form and assume that the review committee knows all the characteristics of your individual or group. Give them lots of ammunition to use. The selection is always very difficult and just because there is a winner doesn’t mean that all the nominees aren’t qualified.

Thank the selfless people in our community; a nomination is certainly an honor. Nomination forms were included in the last Chamber newsletter. They can be downloaded from the Chamber website at www.pagosaspringschamber.com from the homepage. You can call the Chamber and we can fax you a form or you can pick one up at the Chamber. If you have questions, please contact us. Nomination forms are due by Friday, Jan. 6.

Board nominees

Nominees for the 2012 Chamber board of directors are ready to get your votes.

Six candidates are on the slate and three candidates will be elected to three-year terms for the Chamber Board of Directors.

The nominees are Sara Anderson, co-owner of Homespun Comforts; Stacy Boone, owner of Step Outdoors; Kimberley Siler-Bradshaw, co-owner of Southwest Elegance; Jeannie Sinkey, general manager of Mountain Landing Guest Quarters; Chris Smith, owner of Visiting Angels; and Nick Tallent, local Edward Jones branch manager.

These candidates bring a litany of talents and are all enthusiastic about serving on the Chamber board. The candidate bios were included in the last newsletter. They are also located on the website at www.pagosaspringschamber.com and are accessed through the “About the Chamber” tab. Or, we have their bios at the center.

It is important to know who is going off the board and what areas of business will lack board representation. The Chamber is proud that it has a well-rounded board, with members from all sectors of the community, including lodging, food service, retail, finance, small and large format businesses and in-home businesses. We want to continue to keep this mix of directors. Therefore, it is important that you vote not only for those candidates you may know, but for the talents these individuals can bring to the board — those who can represent our businesses community best. You must stop by the Chamber to vote, or vote at the annual meeting. There is only one vote per business.

We thank all the candidates for their efforts. Voting will continue until the annual meeting and final determination will be made then.

For more information on the voting process, contact me at 264-2360.

Membership news

Once again, we have a large number of renewals.

We want to not only welcome them back as a Chamber renewal, but congratulate Summit Ski & Sports on their 25th anniversary. In addition, the Greers have opened up the Overlook Mineral Springs Spa in historic downtown Pagosa, and it is renewing this week as well. Joining them are Chris Smith, with his business, Visiting Angels; Dr. Kitzel Farrah, with San Juan Veterinary Hospital; Jeff Blair, with Blair Roofing; Boulder Coffee Cafe; the Humane Society shelter and thrift store; and the Durango Herald, the region’s daily newspaper. Our individual member renewing this week is Pete Gonzalez.

From the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, we wish our residents a wonderful holiday season with family and with friends who may be visiting our beautiful town. We also welcome our visitors and hope you will return to our community and make spending Christmas here in Pagosa a family tradition. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas everyone. May your days be filled with hope, gratefulness and lots of joy!

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