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I have waited to write on this topic but need to make it clear now from my own experience as the President and founder of the Lodging Association here in Pagosa Springs for three years, and one of the main organizers of the increase in the town lodging tax to support the Town Tourism Committee that I researched the future of Pagosa carefully for a number of years. I have experience in urban planning and worked as an aide to a U.S. Senator on that topic working closely with agencies to develop some of the policies that now are widely used in helping towns and cities develop.
From all of this experience, I have some thoughts on this proposed plan to impose a recreation center on our town and county. I found that the future and the possible positive economic picture for Pagosa is fragile and dependent on wise decision making.
We have a small but viable footprint in terms of what works for us as a combination of what brings visitors and also supports local businesses and helps keep our town solvent and with a viable future. The idea of harnessing our town and our future to a recreational center makes no sense at all and is indeed irresponsible and without a doubt the worst scheme of many that I have seen proposed that is clearly designed to serve a small group of advocated at the expense of the larger community and it would endanger our future in untold ways.
It is just beyond nuts to think of harnessing our future to such a debt just so that some people could “recreate” without a care for the impact on our overall economic balance.
I believe our town council has our best interests at heart as a group but individually we are all liable to be swayed by our own desires, hopes and goals, and can at times forget that the good of all must take precedence over the desires of a few.
I urge people to vote resoundingly against this plan. I will work myself to support wise fiscal policy and support those who also do so. We have a bright future here if we stay sane and careful. We have a doubtful and troubled debt laden future if we chase after wild plans that may seem beneficial in the short run but which have no chance of viability. There is no way I can see any such center being able to sustain and cover its costs, and the chances of liability and great expense to us all are just about assured.
I know from experience the challenges of a public service facility and the many demands that are placed on it that only increase with the aging of infrastructure and the expense of staff and maintenance. There is no way such a plan can benefit us and many ways it can harm us.
I trust wisdom and common sense will prevail here in our fine town.