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Rec center

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.

Chris Gerlach

This story was posted on February 27, 2014.
  • Billy Skipper

    Mr. Gerlach’s argument is an uninformed opinion all too common to this debate, nothing more. Do your own research, folks. I have lived here less than 5 months but I know the specifics of the rec center proposal, and it is a solid proposal. Notice you do not see specifics as to why a rec center will not work here. That’s because he has none, only platitudes, generalizations and a patronizing tone. The town is in the best financial shape it has ever been in, according to the town auditor. Bond rates are still near record lows. Sales tax collections have been steadily on the rise over the past few years, and Wal-Mart and all of the attendant satellite stores that come with it are on the way. Now is the best time to build such a facility. It gets more expensive by the day.

    • ajpagosa

      You’ve been here 5 months and know it all? OK. Plenty of thoughtful, accurate, well-informed objections being raised to this proposal, by Mr Gerlach and many many others.

      Maybe when you’ve lived here longer (like 6 months?) you’ll have had time to read up on them.

  • ajpagosa

    So Mr Gerlach is uninformed? He’s been here nearly 2 decades. The mayor is uniformed? He’s been mayor 36 years!!! Many other long time residents, current and past council members and high ranking officials are against this. And the County Commissioners are too.

    So now in walks Billy, you’ve lived here less that 5 months and you know what’s best for all of us? Better than these folks? Wow.

    • Chris Gerlach

      I trust wisdom and common sense will prevail here in our fine town.

      Chris Gerlach

      • Billy Skipper

        So you have the “right” numbers? how about this- You used to run the lodge? How did that go for ya? Anyone here who saw the lodge before current management took over can decide for themselves how well Mr. Gerlach can run a business. Sorry, but if town staff and council are not going to get the benefit of the doubt, neither do you. Hope yo see you at the meeting on March 20. Bring the right numbers and a sure fire plan regarding how we can build a great rec center without raising taxes. No new taxes? Fine. No new amenities.

        • Chris Gerlach

          As I have said I will not respond in kind to playground bullying and mud slinging. For the record I never said i RAN the Lodge i was for a time, the Marketing and Sales Director, and I was the founder and for three years the President of the Lodging Association and I helped organize the increase in the lodging tax that allowed us to expand the Tourism Committee and gain more resources to Market our community. We had a General Manager who RAN the Lodge.

          That is not the topic here, the topic here is the validity of a risky proposal that places a heavy burden on the Town, violates existing agreements that are well founded on current demographics of the Town//County plats and which would potentially be ruinously expensive. There are many ways to fund new amenities for any community but they should always be based on sound understanding of past, present and potential future trends and economics. I have as I said researched this in great detail and made that data available to relevant parties in the community and will continue to assist and advise in the ways that I can from my own experience and will work to help others do the same. Any opinion and sharing on such an issue CAN help, but not always. Some just support flawed and illusory visions that are attempts by interest groups of one kind or another to gain an advantage without consideration for the entire community, town AND County.

          • Chris Gerlach

            I am glad to have had the chance here and elsewhere to share my concerns and I am hopeful we can all work together in the present and the future for the good of our community. I am confident our leaders both Town and County current and the ones to come will help in this. I urge all on both sides of this issue to remember we are responsible for the decisions we make for they will affect us all. Let’s choose wisely.

    • Billy Skipper

      Living here for decades does not mean you become well informed on any subject by default. If the opponents were so well informed on this issue, how did it ever make it to the ballot? Could it be that some folks support this endeavor and will continue to do so?