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Vote For The Future Of Estes Park

To The Editor:

In the last five years, we’ve experienced the Great Recession, a fire that destroyed more than 30 properties on High Drive and a 1,000 year flood. These events produced a brutally negative, accumulative impact on our community. I own a small business; I have seen what the combination of a bad economy and a devastating natural disaster has done to my business, my friends and my clients.

Countless folks took a terrible hit to their lives, their homes, their jobs. I think it’s safe to say that most of us would like to do more than “survive” in 2014. We would like to thrive year round. We’d like to remain employed year round, we’d like to continue to remain in business and we’d like to grow old and retire in Estes Park.

At this point, lofty aims, if we manage to make it through this winter.

Will the Wellness Center bring added value to our community? Will it entice a different economic demographic to our town? Is it likely guests will return for a visit at some point? Tell their friends and neighbors about their experience here? Garner free marketing and advertising for our Town? Does it build on our future vision of year round, economic viability for our community? Does the Center provide long term tax revenue to our town?

These points cannot be brushed off as inconsequential to a town whose economy currently relies almost exclusively on summer tourism. The answer to each of these questions is an unequivocal “Yes.”

For starters, the purchase of the lot adds $1.65 million immediately to our coffers. Additionally, current projected tax revenues generated by the Center are estimated at a quarter of a million dollars per year.

The addition of a Wellness Center creates high paying, local permanent jobs for as many as 50 people. Constructing the Center brings welders, plumbers, contractors, carpenters, painters, interior designers, IT website development and marketing experts to the project in the short term as well as certified nursing assistants, physical rehab therapists, nutritionists, physicians, receptionists, maintenance workers, groundskeepers, housekeepers and kitchen staff for long term employment.

Will the sale of Lot 4, which consists of a 6.88 acre lot—with a little over 4 acres to be developed, the other two plus acres to be maintained as open space—diminish the beauty and wilderness of Estes Park?

Let’s put that number in perspective. We are surrounded by 265,761 acres (415 plus square miles) of open and protected space in RMNP and an additional 813,799 acres of Roosevelt National Forest. That’s 1,079,560 acres—as in one million, seventy nine thousand, and five hundred and sixty acres surrounding our Town on all four sides.

And we’re squaring off over 4.5 acres of a commercially zoned lot which currently serves primarily as the collection point of trash that the 90 mph wind grabs out of the dumpsters behind from Safeway?

Will the development of Lot 4 diminish the overall beauty of Estes Valley or the Stanley Hotel to the point that it will reduce tourism or negatively impact our enjoyment of our surroundings? No, it will not. The development and design will obviously be created with the goal in mind of building a Wellness Center that enhances the historic Stanley Hotel, the centerpiece of the entire property.

By voting yes for the sale of Lot 4 and the creation of the Wellness Center, the future of Estes Park begins its long overdue economic revival with an eye on preserving our Town for future generations.

Linda Wagner

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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