City’s development model counterproductive
The recent report that resort employment is down 6.4 percent over the last decade should come as no surprise. With a shrinking bed base for our visitors, the result is understandable.
Yes, the conversion to more second-home units might be one reason, although if you go to the booking site Home Away you will find 335 vacation rentals listed for Aspen.
I would suggest the key reason tourism has shrunk is the fact we have turned down all new hotel projects for the last 10 years. Coupled with the conversion of former lodges now doing duty as private rentals or waiting for construction money to become affordable housing (the former Boomerang Lodge), the reason is simple.
This raises a question: Why are we building more affordable housing in a shrinking job market, with no real prospects of new employment on the immediate horizon? I’d like an answer.
A lot of our current affordable-housing stock is tired and worn-down and could use an HGTV makeover. Personally, I’d like to see the city and county invest their funds in improving what we have, as opposed to building something new and shiny.
Another idea I have put forth since 2004 is that we need to spend some time and money on bringing new companies to Aspen. Again, I would look at the lumber yard at the Aspen Business Center as an opportunity to bring in a tech firm such as Google to live and work here. Snowmass should be doing the same thing – looking for businesses that might want to make Snowmass their corporate home.
There is no question the economy has had an effect on employment, but for the smartest community on the planet (according to Mayor Mick) we’re not exactly doing much to help ourselves.
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