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Snowmass Village ‘in a really great place’ compared to last year, town manager says

‘State of the Town’ update acknowledges community effort, challenges of the past year

Visitors grab lunch and drinks at the Ranger Station in Snowmass Mall during a ski day on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/Snowmass Sun)

The state of Snowmass Village is looking good going into 2022, according to Town Manager Clint Kinney.

Especially so compared to 12 months ago, Kinney said at a State of the Town presentation for community members and business and tourism industry stakeholders at a Jan. 13 Tourism Talk webinar.

“The state of the town is strong,” Kinney said. “We’re in a really great place.”



When he gave a similar presentation at the beginning of 2021, the outlook wasn’t quite so sunny: COVID-19 testing availability was more limited, vaccine roll-out was just beginning and occupancy and sales tax revenue took a big hit from pandemic-related travel, tourism and business impacts.

“A year later, COVID’s still with us, COVID still sucks, but we are in a much better spot than we thought we would be,” Kinney said. “Occupancy is up, sales tax revenues are up, we continue to exceed expectations. … We’re headed in the right direction. It’s super exciting where we’re at, (but) I think we all absolutely need to remain vigilant about going in the right direction.”




Kinney was generous with the kudos all around for everyone who played a part in ensuring the town has found balance and ways to support one another during a notably challenging time.

“I am proud of the way that this community has worked through it. … The fact that you as business owners have kept your businesses running through a literal worldwide pandemic is amazing. I’m proud of town staff for keeping our stuff going through a pandemic,” Kinney said. “It’s really hard work, and I really want to take this minute to kind of celebrate the success we’ve had as a community.”

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020 hasn’t been a piece of cake — “no shocker to anybody” there, Kinney said — as town officials and community members grappled with how to keep businesses operating and people employed while also mitigating the spread of the virus.

“I would ask you to really check your mental health, check the mental health of your staff, your colleagues, your friends,” Kinney said. “I know that we’re making great progress, but I don’t want to underestimate the amount of stress that we’re under. We all need to be really vigilant about mental health and hopefully pay attention to it, … because it’s important.”

The pandemic has defined a lot of decision-making and prioritization over the past couple of years in Snowmass Village and just about everywhere else.

But there have also been plenty of other moves made in the past year-plus that look into the somewhat-more-distant future of the town: adoption of a workforce housing master plan that commits to 185 more units for local employees, efforts to take a measured approach to understanding the local short-term rental industry, and infrastructure investments that include updated snowmelt systems, additional electric vehicle chargers and implementation of a fiber optic cable for high-speed internet.

(Other projects, like a Town Park redesign and a new transit center on the Snowmass Mall, continue to plug along, but a twice-as-pricey updated cost estimate of the the transit center has complicated that project’s timeline.)

Kinney hoped those ideas would “strike a chord with everyone on this phone call about the values of this community” — values like connectivity, sustainability, protected open space, economic “vibrancy” and development that doesn’t lead to “sprawl.” Balancing the role of Snowmass Village as a resort and a community is part of that, too.

“As we go forward with all these types of decisions … just know that we’re trying to absolutely find that right balance between building community and assisting the resort,” Kinney said. “We know we need to have community members, we know that a great community makes for a great resort, and that when the locals are successful, the resort will be successful.”

Maintaining the “positive momentum” in the village moving forward and tackling upcoming initiatives also calls for maintaining the “unique” character of Snowmass Village, Kinney said.

“We’re not like other places,” he said. “We think that’s an asset. We want to keep it that way. We don’t want to be like everybody else.”

Open to Input

Kinney encouraged anyone with feedback, thoughts or ideas on the direction the town is moving to reach out and share them.

“We are always trying to assess that this balance is done and done well, so you guys are our greatest resources, so please let us know how we’re doing,” Kinney said.

The town manager’s office can be reached by calling Town Hall at 970-923-3777. Town council members can be emailed as a group at council@tosv.com. Those who wish to make their comment part of the public record should also copy the town clerk Megan Boucher at mboucher@tosv.com.

kwilliams@aspentimes.com


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