Dear Editor:

At long last, Town Tourism Committee chair Bob Hart and the TTC have found (and funded) a marketing organization with the syrupy name of Internet Honey that supports their agenda.  Pagosa signature events are passe; new infrastructure in the form of an amusement park on Reservoir Hill is what will drive tourists to Pagosa to spend money at lodging facilities and other tourist establishments.

What benefit does the TTC get from hippies making hippies on Reservoir Hill to the sounds of great live music at FolkWest festivals? None at all. If events don’t directly translate to increased lodging taxes, they apparently have no value to the lodging tax-funded TTC that appears to be running the town of Pagosa Springs.

Now our wonderful, friendly Visitor Center, effectively managed by the Chamber for 25 years, has fallen victim to the TTC’s rearrangement of budget priorities. I commend the Chamber board for putting an end to the TTC’s bullying tactics. Let the TTC deal with the fallout from their philosophy that allocating funds to visitors who are already in town is not as important as allocating funds to destination-marketing. Of course, the exception to that rule is to spend $4.5 million on a honky-tonk Reservoir Hill amusement park, purportedly to give tourists something to do once they have been driven here.

The more the TTC budget focuses on marketing rather than events, the sweeter the reward for Internet Honey, since Internet Honey is paid for their spy-like tourist-tracking marketing services.

Now with Internet Honey’s backing —  and apparent blessing — of funding infrastructure over events, the scene is set for a win for Hart Construction, the likely contractor for the proposed Reservoir Hill amusement park project. If allowed to proceed, will this project drive more tourists to spend more time and more money in Pagosa? Internet Honey and the TTC are convinced it will, but the truth is that no one knows.

And at what cost to the residents? Forget the character of Pagosa Springs. That will be forever changed by Bob Hart and the TTC if they have their way. Thus far, the town council has willingly endorsed their endeavors to statistically quantify the value of Reservoir Hill, and now the Visitor Center.

Cynda Green

This story was posted on December 13, 2012.