Economic development committee eyed for Breck
BRECKENRIDGE – The resort town that already pays $900,000 to a resort chamber to draw tourism now thinks it may need an economic development committee (EDC), as well.An EDC emerged as one of the top recommendations in a report issued Tuesday to the Breckenridge Town Council by the town’s Marketing Vision Plan Advisory Committee.The town council chartered the committee composed of business people last year as one more attempt to answer the lingering question: Is the town adequately marketed in a highly competitive environment?The redundancy of an EDC offered a mixed message about the work of the Breckenridge Resort Chamber.Town council members liked the idea, for the most part, and ordered up a staff analysis. To some, an EDC would be a check on the BRC. To others, it would validate that the BRC does as much as it can with limited resources.Main Street merchant and committee member Marty Lessow said the EDC “would put the BRC on call,” make it “accountable” and referee marketing information developed by the BRC, the town and the Breckenridge Ski Resort.
“I don’t think that is wrong,” Lessow said.Fellow Main Street merchant and BRC board member Steve Lapinsohn said the EDC would likely arrive at the conclusions he already sees.”The BRC does as much as it can with its resources,” Lapinsohn said. “It needs more help.”BRC executive director Corry Mihm said the EDC could be a “great thing” if it gets more people involved in steering Breckenridge’s future.But she cautioned that if it becomes another layer in the decision-making, it could cause even more frustration with existing marketing groups.Councilmember Rob Millisor, a longtime BRC board member in his business life, said he’s “not sold” on the EDC idea.”My concern is that it will create another layer between the BRC and the town council,” he said. “We don’t need that. We don’t need another BRC.”Former town council member and local dentist John Warner validated Millisor’s concerns as his own, initially, but said he’s now in the EDC camp.Warner said he wouldn’t mind if the EDC took a lesson from Steamboat Springs and explored business diversification, just not tourism growth.Millisor agreed.Councilmember Eric Mamula, himself a downtown restaurateur, likes the EDC concept.”I would like to get on it as soon as possible,” he said. “Now is the time to do it, when things are sort of OK like right now, not when times are bad.”Mayor Ernie Blake suggested the EDC be broader in view than just marketing and find a way to involve second homeowners, “an increasing silent minority.”Committee member and Beaver Run Resort sales director Bruce Horii put himself in the cautionary circle.More marketing voices, if not facilitated correctly, could “dilute the process and not necessarily focus people in the right direction,” he said.”It might slow down a process that I think is very immediate.”The big players in the Breckenridge marketing engine are the Breckenridge Ski Resort, the BRC and the town through the music and events it produces aside from the marketing it asks of the BRC.Another of the main committee recommendations was to implore the three players to create more “synergy” in their marketing efforts. Jim Pokrandt can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 227, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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