Janet Day: Our local economy " what no one is talking about
January 19, 2009
Financial Free-Fall. It’ s the gorilla in the room that no one seems to want to talk about ” the local economy. Oh sure, there are private conversations and whispered gossip about who’s lost what job where, but there hasn’ t really been a full accounting of just how quickly this area caught up to the dire state of the economy elsewhere in the country.
We all know people who’ve lost their jobs recently, whether at Winter Park Resort weeks ago, SolVista more recently or the continuous bleeding of employees from the construction and building industries, and subsequently, the companies that supply the builders ” lumber yards, hardware stores and home-furnishings suppliers.
Large developments have been halted. Lodging companies are struggling to fill rooms, skier visits are down, restaurant dining rooms see only a few full tables each night and end-of-year sales at stores are continuing into 2009. “For Sale” signs have been posted in front of homes so long they’re buried under the snow and neither the sales agents nor the homeowners dig them out. Foreclosure notices occupy pages of this newspaper but help-wanted ads fill only a column or two.
The chamber is doing what it can and going full-bore to get Front Range visitors to come back to Winter Park and fill the void left by declining numbers of destination visitors. The fact that we have to offer prize money to get Front Rangers back here is disturbing, considering that this area’s reputation is as the favorite playground of Denver-area residents.
Keeping this community vital is going to take some effort from all of us who still call this valley home and want to continue to do so. One thing we can do is eat and shop locally. I know I can’t afford to eat out like I used to, but I am going to make an effort to go out once a week. It may mean only for a drink, or for discounted happy hour appetizers, or splitting an entree with someone else.
To do so may require checking out DVDs from the library instead of renting them one week and spending that money instead at a restaurant. But it’s a start. If I can get a friend to go out with me and she gets someone else to go out with her the next week and so on, we may be able help our favorite restaurants, bars and coffee shops ride out the recession.
Green Up. Just about the only business that seems to be thriving is tree removal. Chain saws still buzz around my neighborhood as dead trees are still being removed. Another way to help keep this area attractive and livable is to replace those dead trees with new ones.
To that end, the Middle Park Conservation District is taking orders for conifer and deciduous tree seedlings. Orders are being taken until April with delivery in early May. If your thumb isn’t exactly green, the district also sells “seedling survival kits.” For details or to place an order, call the district office in Kremmling at (970) 724.3456.
Art Therapy. With all the anxiety over the economy and environment, head to Grand Lake to enjoy something fun. On Feb. 7, local artist Donna Lyons will be at the Grand Lake Art Gallery making and teaching about Artist Trading Cards. As a quilter, I’m addictively familiar with the growing art form. Artists make trading cards ” the size of baseball cards ” out of whatever media they prefer and trade them with each other, just like baseball cards. They’re fun to create and fun to look at. Lyons will be at the gallery from 4 to 6 pm.
Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to JDayQuilts@msn.com.
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