Chamber officials, businesses around Grand County don’t expect convention boost
With the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver only weeks away, owners of hotels and motels of Grand County are still unsure if they should brace themselves for an onslaught of politicos.We dont expect to see any of the conventioneers up here, but we might be seeing some Denver homeowners, said Sharon Brenner, director of the Granby Chamber of Commerce. If theyre not staying home next week, they have to go somewhere. They may not necessarily come to Grand County, but a lot of them will be going to the mountains for the week of the convention. Well just have to see what happens.Catherine Ross, Winter Park & Fraser Valley Chambers director, agreed.We dont know if well be gleaning anything from the convention, she said. Most of the delegates will be focussed on the convention and wont be thinking about vacationing. The Denver community is aware of us, but most of the schools will be in session. So, we dont know for sure. In the long-term, having the convention in Denver will be good for everybody in Colorado because of the coverage well have in the national media.Brad Taylor, Grand Lake Chamber director, said his office has seen some increased tourism interest for the week of the convention. Weve seen a slight uptick in the number of inquiries from Denver residents wanting to get away the week of the convention, he said. I think there are a good number of people down there who want to escape the city.This general assessment by the local chambers of commerce seems to be the same for many of the local hotels and motels, such as Beaver Village in Winter Park.Were not seeing any big increase for next week, said Katie Lady, front desk manager at Beaver Village in Winter Park. We havent seen or heard of anyone specifically coming here because of the convention.More than 50,000 convention-goers are expected to descend on downtown Denver for the Democratic Partys political extravanganza that starts Monday and continues through Thursday, Aug. 25 to 28. Most of the conventions events are planned for the Pepsi Center, but Barack Obamas acceptance speech will take place at Invesco Field on Thursday, Aug. 28. To accommodate all those people flocking to next weeks convention, all available hotel and motel lodging within the Denver metropolitan area has been reserved, sometimes months in advance.In addition, hundreds of Denver-area homeowners and apartment and condo dwellers have been offering their homes for rental during the week of the convention. Those private residence rentals range from $200 a night up to $50,000 for a historic LODO apartment. During the DNC, many Denver-area residents who have rented their homes to convention-goers will be leaving town. And, of course, there will be those downtown Denver residents who wont want to deal with all the crowds, increased traffic and possible disturbances related to the convention.
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