Local officials and concerned residents have been talking about the need for economic development in our community for some time with little success.
It appears that is a thing of the past if recent events are any indication.
Just in the past week, we have seen several economic development-related meetings.
The Estes Park Economic Development Corporation held a pair of public meetings (Monday and Wednesday). At those meetings, representatives of Avalanche Consulting made a presentation about their work to develop a “strategy” for economic diversity and long-term resiliency in the Estes Valley.
They presented some key findings from their market assessment and community survey.
On of the more hard-hitting tidbits was the news that from 2011 to 2013, the Estes Valley economy grew 3 percent. Other resort communities around the state grew by an average of 12 percent during the same time period.
The message: Estes Park is losing ground as a destination to other state resort communities.
Avalanche Consulting also revealed that seasonal economies, like Estes Park, are easily affected by disasters. We saw proof of that as a result of the 2013 flood.
The consultants cited a need for affordable housing for our workforce and the need to create new jobs with higher paying salaries. To illustrate the point, they said that half of the Estes Valley workforce works somewhere else.
The consultants also cited the need to attract new businesses such as wellness, boutique, craft and retail, breweries and distilleries, conference and special events, outdoor sports, and IT/software-related firms.