Breckenridge candidate Q&A: The town and tourism office have shifted their focus to quality of life for residents. Should that be a priority?
While I will continue to prioritize improving the quality of life for residents, I wouldn’t call this an entirely new shift. Our community-created Destination Management Plan vision is “harmony of quality of life for residents and quality of place for visitors.”
A strong community makes for a strong economy and vice versa. The two go hand in hand, and I believe we are currently trending out of balance. Some of this is due to the post-pandemic travel surge. Growth is not always bad, but it can be when unmanaged. The crowding is not only impacting the day-to-day lives of our residents but also starting to reflect negatively in our visitor surveys, which can impact our future economy.
We currently have a healthy economy as reflected in all sectors of tax revenue. The town and Breckenridge Tourism Office should continue to support economic prosperity, but every decision made should first be weighed by asking if the opportunity supports our resident population or helps to reinforce our community values.
— Carol Saade
The Breckenridge Tourism Office should focus on a quality experience for all — not just residents. We have marketed Breckenridge for years to get people to come here, and now everyone wants to shut the door and demonize the people who make it possible for us to live here.
I think the fact that the town is penalizing short-term rental owners is extremely poor policy. It seems that those on Town Council dictating this legislation are the haves. They have convinced large groups of people that what they are doing will produce long-term housing when it will not. Unfortunately, it seems as though Breckenridge tourism is in lockstep with Town Council.
— Tom Day
Absolutely! I can remember long ago when there were shoulder seasons, which meant lean times for those in the community whose livelihood depended on tourism. But that time has passed as we now have a more sustained year-round visitor economy with shortened shoulder seasons. Many of our cherished local traditions, such as Ullr Fest and snow sculptures, have grown in such popularity that the visitor count puts strain on our local infrastructure and leads to overcrowding. Possible solutions could include holding more events midweek as well as reducing town marketing outreach efforts. When events are proposed to the Town Council for support, the first question should be, “Will this event engage the community and be a positive thing for their quality of life?”
— Mike Zobbe
Absolutely. The Breckenridge Tourism Office has been incredibly successful at driving destination visitors to our community. Some would argue they have been too successful. Going forward, our energy needs to focus on managing visitation to protect and preserve the character and feel of our community while retaining the right mix of destination visitors versus drive-up guests. The goal should be to ensure an exceptional quality of life from Main Street to the slopes to our trailheads.
— Todd Rankin
About time! Some day the Yogi Berra prophecy will come true: “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” The best way to destroy this town is to keep making it as crowded as possible. This town needs a real vision plan that focuses on its residents first.
— Lenny Weisberg
The town should focus on quality of life for our local residents, and the tourism office should focus on tourism. Quality of local living is obviously important to Breckenridge (as in all tourist towns), but we cannot forget or take for granted the impact our guests have. The revenue generated from transfer tax, accommodations tax, sales tax and fees for our recreational offerings help fund so many amenities that make living here amazing.
— Nathan Moorefield
The shift from the tourism office going from a destination marketing organization to a destination marketing and management organization was implemented in 2015. This along with the Destination Management Plan were the two most important accomplishments that I was able to participate in during my tenure at the Breckenridge Tourism Office. The management piece added that the job of the town is now more than just getting guests to come, but to understand how the guest and resident interact. The quality of life for those who live and work here is now and should forever be a priority and the point on the horizon we strive to reach.
— Jay Beckerman
Tourism undoubtedly keeps this town, our businesses and locals — who own or staff those businesses — up and running, but there must be acknowledgment for how excessive tourism negatively impacts existing infrastructure and how to keep this balance in check. Congestion is the No. 1 complaint of our locals, whether it be traffic, parking or the grocery store being overrun. The local community doesn’t even want to leave their homes to enjoy town on most winter weekends.
While it is great that town is now busy year-round and attracting a range of visitors, we can focus on reducing marketing, especially while new infrastructure (parking, buses, short-term rentals, etc.) is being developed or reassessed. People know where and how great Breckenridge is. Rather than focusing on promoting the town itself, our tourism office could shift focus to promote and educate visitors about navigating and getting around using free transportation, incentivizing carpooling, and encouraging skiers and visitors to patronize our wonderful local businesses after a day on the mountain. I agree that we should strive for the town’s vision of “harmony of quality of life for residents and quality of place for visitors.”
— Jason Libby
Breckenridge must do more for quality of life for full-time residents.
One issue the town must address is parking. The town should investigate options to improve parking for residents (who already pay a hefty sum of property and sales taxes to the town). One potential solution would be to implement a program where residents could obtain a parking permit for discounted (or free) parking in certain town lots.
Another issue to improve upon is the snow maintenance. Our roads and sidewalks are in disarray during the winter months. Having properly cleared roads will help with traffic flow and also reduce accidents. I have witnessed many people slip and fall on sidewalks on Main Street and around town: Walking down the sidewalk in winter should not be a death-defying sport.
The town and Vail Resorts should work together to provide events for locals. Let’s bring people of our community, many who are passionate about skiing and snowboarding, together in unity. Events could be as simple as allowing Breckenridge residents to access the lifts one-hour early, one day a month or holding a town ski race on Peak 10. Special events for locals will build community and friendships in our small town.
— Ally “For The People” Doolin
Three seats are up for election on Breckenridge Town Council. Read more candidate Q&As at SummitDaily.com/election.
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