Column: A summer forecast for Grand County business and economy |

Column: A summer forecast for Grand County business and economy

Patrick Brower
For Sky-Hi News


Perhaps before I open my big mouth I should give credit to probably the best aphorism about my coming attempt, which they say was coined by baseball great and common-man philosopher Yogi Berra: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Anyway, here I go, sticking my neck out about the future summer in Grand County, with all its inherent risks.

First, expect more of the same.

Last year, Grand County towns saw record increases in sales tax income, and this on a surprising increase from the previous year during the first COVID peak. So, government saw record and I would say windfall increases in sales tax income two years in a row. Businesses that collected that sales tax also saw record increases in sales.

It’s coming again this summer. In fact, it has already started. Just look at the over-the-top sales in Winter Park and Fraser since January compared to the same period. It was busy.

Of course it’s sort of silly to say businesses and locals need to be ready for this likely influx of business. In reality, they are already worried about it and perhaps even panicking about how to handle it. Just look at the increasingly desperate help wanted signs and increasingly strident help wanted ads online around here and you’ll see what I mean.

People and businesses want to be prepared. But it will be a struggle.

What this means is that business growth and increased demand is coming and will continue. Meeting that demand is the core issue of our economy right now and not only here in Grand County.

The eternal questions on the topic of real estate and housing will persist this summer despite the prognostications in some realms about a coming and perhaps inevitable recession. But all this construction we see in Grand County right now is only meeting some of the demand from the resort and visitor sector. Demand for local homes and for people who live here will continue to be unmet due to high prices and extremely low inventory. Like last year.

I don’t even want to scream and shout here about the need for employee housing or workforce housing. I’ll just say we need some affordable housing — certainly more than we have now. Just like last year.

This is easy and depressing to predict (maybe) but the increasingly warm temperatures and drought conditions are going to persist. We will get a fire ban. We probably will have fires that destroy some of our forest but which I hope will not destroy homes or communities.

Plan now for dry heat and fires. Sadly, this is our new reality in the West. The winds are the big factor in this realm and already they are blowing up storms of worry. Prepare for wind.

Ironically, those very weather- and heat-related factors will compel many more people to come up here to try and enjoy our relative cool and relative moisture. It is cooler and wetter up here than most other places. It’s just not as cool and wet as it used to be.

Now I’ve put my foot in my mouth about the future. But in this case, I’m thinking the future is just a replay of the recent past. With the additional caution that I think COVID will be back, again.

Or as Yogi Berra would say: “It feels like deja vu all over again.”




Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.