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I believe that the proposed Town Recreation Center will have a positive impact on our community, not only as a recreational and healthy amenity, but from the standpoint of jobs and spending.
The CDC commissioned an economic impact study by Region 9, an impartial third party with the analytical tools to complete the study. Region 9 paid for the study from technical assistance funds because of the project’s size and importance to the region — especially in Archuleta County — and because of the jobs and associated economic activity the project would generate.
Economic impact studies track the movement of money through a local economy and measure the cumulative effects of that spending.
Summary of Findings — The construction phase of the proposed Pagosa Springs Recreation Center project would support an estimated 214 jobs and $4 million to the local economy based on a projected budget of $18 million (not the $45 million opponents claim).
Economic impacts from operations, including both payroll and expenditures, are estimated to support about 22 jobs, and generate $820,240 in labor income annually, based on information provided in the budget and feasibility studies.
The Region 9 analysis excluded potential revenue from users and any economic impacts stemming from the financing arrangements.
The Rec Center would be an attraction for tourists — those here for business, pleasure, recreation or to visit friends and family who spend money and pay sales taxes in our community. Tourists will use the recreation center — especially those with families and especially when the weather is inclement.
Retirees are one of the biggest economic drivers in our mountain community. Retirees receive transfer payments from outside our community (like pensions, Social Security and IRA withdrawals) that they spend in our community. Retirees buy land, build houses, consume healthcare services and pay local sales and property taxes. Retirees also contribute via their volunteer activities. Retiree decisions on where to locate with their substantial retirement incomes is governed by recreation opportunities, climate and healthcare services.
A recreation center would help attract new businesses to our community that need young professionals which are looking for lifestyle attractions. New businesses create jobs and pay sales and property taxes.
A recreation center would also help local businesses attract workers, as another lifestyle amenity for our community. Local businesses are dependent on being able to attract and retain an educated, capable workforce, such as Pagosa Springs Medical Center. Workers are looking for lifestyle amenities like a Rec Center.
Let’s all pause, take a deep breath and consider the pros and cons logically without all the emotion, wild speculation, predictions of economic peril and hyperbole.
If I were a Town resident, I would definitely vote “yes” on April 8th.