|OPINION: Six Flags Over Pagosa?|
|Norm Vance | 5/10/12|
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|First, I want to make one point abundantly clear. When community debates over questions such as we have in the Reservoir Hill Project produce demeaning and questionable comments about the parties involved, it is sad. I do not believe anyone involved on either side is doing anything for their own personal gain. I sat on the committee from the beginning and know that everyone involved is doing, what they consider to be, their absolute best for Pagosa Springs. |
It comes down to a difference of opinion! We shouldn’t cast aspersions.
I will also make it clear that I have walked in the shoes of the TTC’s committee leaders. During the 1980s I was part of a committee wanting to build a hot spring facility in Town Park. This became a very hotly contested debate, leading to a petition for an election that stopped the project. I learned a few things about Pagosa Springs from that experience.
That hot springs project epic should have been precedent-setting. The people of Pagosa Springs firmly stated, “We do not want large commercial and permanent construction in our Town Parks.” With the dynamic population increase and sociological upheaval we have seen over the last decade or two, community memory is short.
People also see the current question as precedent-setting. What’s the next step? Once the pattern is set, it is much easier to do it again.
When I did the original Reservoir Hill presentation, I was very carful to not include anything that might offend the sensibility of the people of Pagosa Springs. I was working with input from others and some of the ideas, I thought, might be pushing the limits. I think we can now realize that the majority of the people see some lower key improvements on Reservoir Hill as a good thing, but do not want a mechanical amusement park facility.
It is obvious the Fort Lewis students doing the business plan study were given information and emphasis not based on all the possibilities, but the items and emphasis specifically of interest to the committee members. From the moment the chair lift became part of the plan the committee and town officials have produced a series of claims that most people can see through. A petition without statistical merit, with tourist’s and even a dog’s name on it is one. It was pointed to as some valid proof. A blanket accusation that the opposition is lying without specifics or proof. Claiming the opposition is only a handful of always negative people. The demeaning of Mr. Pitcher who has done some very positive things for Pagosa Springs. All of these things are developing a poor reputation for the TTC and town government.
I believe people come to the West and mountains with visions from books, magazines, web sites, TV, movies etc. of what this area should be. They are looking for those images and desire the adventures involved. There is a reason why horseback rides are universal across the west! We would be smart to appeal to those images and desires as we develop tourism. No one comes to Pagosa looking for amusement rides!
Reservoir Hill should reflect images with low key and natural construction that “fits” the environment. A standard should be set to use on all construction. Log and stone is the obvious choice. It can still be dramatic and impressive, but not concrete, steel or plastic.
It is a town park, after all...
There are several of us from the original committee still interested in pursuing concepts in the non amusement park plans. We can do things that will draw and hold tourists in a more fitting way and enhance Reservoir Hill for all locals.
Yes Bill, you are right, I did watch the original committee change from the first plan to the more aggressive amusement park concept. I was saddened and disappointed. In the beginning, the committee was full of enthusiastic and energetic citizens. It filled the smaller meeting venues to overflow and when the time came for manual labor, the turn out was spectacular. When the chair lift and amusement rides became the prime focus the interest and numbers dwindled to just the few promoting the greater plan. The work in progress on the snowboard and sledding hills came to a stop and the rest is history!
The fact that it has now come to being a community wide trauma with editor letters, front page news, angry people in meetings, negative expert advice and obscene posters hung around town, only adds to the community’s disappointment.
Experts have said it will be a financial boondoggle. Isn’t it time for the TTC and Town Council to cut bait?
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