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This letter shall reflect some observations and suggestions I have regarding the Return on Investment and some common sense planning with respect to the DeVore home and proposed restaurant at 468 Lewis St.
I believe the Historic Preservation Board of Pagosa Springs has some good ideas to implement for the historic preservation of the DeVore home on Lewis St. However, I believe that the big picture has been thrown aside to concentrate on “what the developer has to do.” This short sided approach has once again deterred a qualified investor willing to put up hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring life to the beautiful historic property located at 468 Lewis Street, the site of a proposed new restaurant.
This approach of putting not only the cost, but the responsibility of this historic archiving on the developer is flawed. Think about it. This historic preservation board should be creating a master plan for the historic preservation of all the historic properties downtown, not just hitting up the next developer willing to try a new and very costly venture in a downtown area that is on the verge of a ghost town. Further, common sense would indicate that the developer has his hands full trying to open a new restaurant and complying with a lot of other regulations. He might not do such a great job of preserving the history of this property, because he is too overloaded already.
It seems to me that the Town Tourism Committee which is already working on signage would be a logical choice to help with this kind of plan and implementation. And they already have some funding. So far I have not seen that the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation has taken up any support for this project, which seems to me a good way to provide some local jobs as well.
I urge all of the entities in and around the town and county as well as individuals to see the return on investment possible here, and come together. It has been quoted that the tax revenue gained by this venture could be in the neighborhood of $30,000 per year for the town. Some may feel that this number is very small and somewhat insignificant. With a 15-year lease on this property, that number now becomes $450,000. The investment for the town and developer of somewhere between $5,000 and $25,000 for the historic archiving seem small when compared to the revenue generated by a long term lease and successful restaurant. Also add the overall economic improvement for the immediate neighborhood and creation of even more tax revenues generated by salaries.
I have said this before and I will say it again. If we, the town of Pagosa Springs and county of Archuleta continue to alienate small time developers, we will get what we really don’t want. When the town gets really desperate, we will allow a very large developer to “come in and save town.” Is that what you want, Pagosa? Support small time development; it is the heart and soul of this community.