Winter Park Chamber hopes marketing blitz will offset shaky national economy | SkyHiNews.com

Winter Park Chamber hopes marketing blitz will offset shaky national economy

Will Bublitz
wbublitz@grandcountynews.com
Grand County, Colorado

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

Because of worries about how the nationwide economic downturn may affect local business, the Winter Park-Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce will launch a marketing campaign to attract more tourism this winter.

At the Tuesday Winter Park Town Council meeting, it was announced that the Chamber of Commerce plans to invest $120,000 to pay for an advertising campaign this season.

Rusty Thompson, who is the town’s mayor pro-tem as well as a chamber board member, told his Town Council members that the chamber’s board had approved the allocation of those funds during a meeting last week. He said the chamber is going to “dip into its reserves” to come up with the $120,000.

“We met to come up with a campaign to help local businesses this winter,” he said. “There was general concern about what this winter would look like.”

Town councilman Jimmy Lahrman questioned whether this marketing effort might be “too little, too late.”

Thompson disagreed, saying he believed it is worthwhile because other mountain resort communities are also planning increased marketing campaigns to attract more skiers and winter recreationists.

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Commenting on that, Mayor Jim Myers said the Town of Vail recently announced plans to spend $500,000 to boost its advertising this winter.

Specifics about the marketing campaign were not announced Tuesday. Chamber Executive Director Catherine Ross said those plans are currently being developed and must first be approved by the chamber board before they can be announced.

Upcoming special events

In other business Tuesday, the Town Council approved two special event permits requested by the Chamber of Commerce. The permits are for the Lifestylez Snowdaze College Week set for Tuesday through Saturday, Jan. 6-9, and the Mary Jane Birthday Bash for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24-25.

The Chamber will be hosting the Lifestylez Snowdaze College Week events at Hideaway Park and the parking lot at Grand Sports. The event will include music with a live DJ, a film showing, a bonfire and complimentary hot chocolate. The Lifestylez Snowdaze College Week is expected to bring an estimated 1,200 students from the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri to the town of Winter Park.

The Mary Jane Birthday Bash events being sponsored by the Chamber will also take place at Hideaway Park and the parking lot at Grand Sports. Music with a DJ and a film showing will also take place. On Saturday, Jan. 24, a parade on Winter Park’s Main Street will take place at 6 p.m., followed by fireworks.

Developer expresses concerns

During the open forum at Tuesday’s meeting, local developer Lee Eckhoff voiced a number of complaints. These included the lack of adequate signage on Winter Park Drive to ensure that drivers know that it is a one-way street; improper soil compaction after underground utility installations; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ refusal to allow underground installation of electrical power lines on 1/10th acre parcels that may contain wetlands; inadequate setbacks on construction that does not allow enough room for parking and snow storage; and the Town of Winter Park’s donation of $100,000 to Fraser Valley Recreation Foundation to support the new recreation center, which he described as “double tax” on residents.

Police grants

Police Chief Glen Trainor received the Town Council’s approval to accept a $3,000 Criminal Justice grant for his department. He said that money brings the total number of grants that the Fraser-Winter Park Police has received for this year to $70,000.

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