Excuse the mess, Visitor Center gets facelift

SUN Columnist

Starting Monday, the Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Center building is undergoing a renovation and painting facelift.

This long-overdue project will include removing all the old nails that secure the thousands of holiday lights for the building and then, of course, the usual power spraying, scraping and repair of numerous rotted-out boards.

In the final stage, we will paint the building with all new colors — no more gray and red. The Chamber/Visitor Center building, which is a replica of the original 1888 bath house, will be painted with a fresh base coat and colorful accents. We won’t release the color scheme now — you will need to come downtown to view the final product.

The interior of the Visitor Center has already received a facelift. The lobby has been enhanced with pictorial representations from the San Juan Historical Museum and the Fred Harman Museum and a display of some Pagosa Springs historic photos. In addition, the Chimney Rock National Monument display has been renovated and we will be able to display hundreds of photos with a large digital picture frame.

As you drive downtown, please excuse our mess the next couple of weeks as we renovate and upgrade this 23-year-old building. It will be worth the wait as we contribute to improvements occurring downtown. It is exciting to see businesses improving their landscaping and building decor, the new U.S. 160 welcome banners, Overlook improvements and many other enhancements. Are you in a position to add a fresh coat of paint to your business?

Special event money 

A reminder: there will be special event funding available from the 2013 county tourism budget.

The commissioners approved $10,000 to be distributed to non-profit organizations producing special events that will attract visitors to the area or improve the community experience for the visitor. The funding can also be used by the nonprofit to develop a tourism attraction and to improve a facility or create an activity so as to attract or enhance the experience of a visitor. The non-profit organization can apply special event funds to marketing efforts to attract visitors to our area, with an emphasis on the organization’s facility or event.

Applications must be submitted and there are restrictions: the amount of funding for any particular group cannot exceed $1,000; the organization cannot have requested and received funding from the Town Tourism Committee for the specified event. As noted in the application, the organization must be specific concerning use of the funds and present a budget along with the application. A group of five community members who are not involved as non-profit volunteers or sitting on a non-profit board that might be involved in the grant process, will be chosen to review the applications.

Applications are available and can be obtained online at www.pagosaspringschamber.com under the “Stay Connected” tab or in hard copy at the Chamber offices. The application must be completed and returned to the Chamber by Friday, Aug. 30. Reviews will be set for early September. If your event or marketing efforts have already been executed for the 2013 year, you can apply for funding as a reimbursement, provided you still follow all the guidelines.

Questions can be directed to Mary Jo Coulehan at 264-2360 or e-mail director@pagosachamber.com. As many as 10 organizations could receive some funding assistance. The Chamber board and the county commissioners look forward to investing lodging tax dollars in the community to support tourism efforts by our many great organizations.

Preview in the Park

On Thursday, Aug. 29, FolkWest, which produces the Four Corners Folk Festival, will host a free concert in Town Park with two bands that will be playing at the Four Corners Folk Festival.

Halden Wofford and the High Beams and New Country Rehab will perform at 5 and 6:30 p.m. respectively. There will be several non-profit food vendors providing delicious eats, a beer garden and, of course, there will be a preview of some of the music you will hear at the Four Corners Folk Festival over the Labor Day weekend. This is a rain dependent event, so should there be rain, there will be no event. The Chamber is pleased to partner with FolkWest in producing this event for the community. Get off work, grab the family and head over to Town Park for an evening of free music.

Fire programs

With the West Fork Complex fires still on many people’s minds, there will be several programs offered to the public. The first is a free workshop offered by Firewise of Southwest Colorado and Colorado State University Extension, Archuleta County. They will sponsor a free Home Ignition Zone and Defensible Space Workshop for the public on Friday Aug. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Loma Linda Subdivision. Attendees will see how a wildfire safety home inspection is done and how to develop a defensible space around a home. All are encouraged to attend.

The second program offered by Firewise of Southwest Colorado is a rebate program to help offset the cost of chipping slash from wildfire mitigation work conducted on private property in Archuleta and La Plata counties. Residents will be reimbursed for the lesser of $100 per day or 50 percent of the cost to rent a chipper or to utilize a company for chipper services used to chip slash on private property. One rebate is allowed at a $500 maximum per address. Rebates are valid for work from May 1 through Sept. 30, 2013, or until funds are expended. They will be honored on a first come, first served basis.

For more information on either program, contact Bill Trimarco at archuletafirewise@gmail.com or call 264-0430.

Business news

This reminder is a heads up for business owners: the Parelli Summit will be coming to town Sept. 6-8. Restaurant owners, lodgers and retailers should be on their toes; make sure you are fully staffed and supplied. The Parelli Center brings thousands of people to Pagosa and it is a time for Pagosa to shine. Plan ahead now for this weekend.

Another reminder is for restaurant owners to RSVP to the Chamber if they are interested in participating in the 2013 ColorFest Passport to Pagosa Wine & Food Festival to be held Friday, Sept. 20. You have until Monday, Aug. 26, to commit. If you did not receive your e-mail invitation or hard copy, notify Mary Jo and one will be delivered to you.

Speaking of restaurants and specialty stores, we have a new member to welcome to the Chamber this week. Congratulations to Don Pastin for opening up Jitterz Ice Cream & Caffeine Lounge located in the Aspen Grove Center on 2nd Street next to Farrago Market Cafe. Cool off with over 16 flavors of their delicious “Liks” ice cream or enjoy a coffee beverage — hot or cold. You can create a malt, shake or float, too. This winter, they will expand their food repertoire to include dessert items. Enjoy eating in the relaxing courtyard or in the cozy lounge. Welcome to Pagosa’s newest food specialty store.

Our renewals this week include Bank of Colorado, King Campbell, DDS PLLC, Subway West, SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts, Astraddle a Saddle, Sportman’s Campground and Mountain Cabins, Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate, Source Gas, A&P Tents, Odd Jobs Unlimited, Wolf Creek Run, and Wolf Creek Backcountry. We really appreciate everyone’s renewal.

Don’t forget the August Maximizing Your Membership class will be held Monday, Aug. 26, at the Chamber from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It is free and lunch is provided. Please call the Chamber to reserve your space.

This story was posted on August 22, 2013.