Parking, not planning experts, lead to revitalization
I began working in resort towns in 1965 and have worked in and owned shops in Breckenridge, Vail, Aspen and Glenwood Springs.After nearly 40 years, I feel confident of what it takes for a business to be successful. The most important lesson I have learned is that planners and consultants don’t have a clue. These graduates from the ivory towers deal in a theoretical world. I know because I also earned a degree as a planner. The Ford Fricks of this world have the nerve to charge people for information that is obvious, (find a good location with year-round traffic with low rents and have plenty of cash backing) and your chances for success are good.How these things are done never is explained. Since planners all speak the same language they continue to hire “experts” from outside the area to support their bogus ideas. The towns of Breckenridge and Glenwood Springs have paid for studies and have repeatedly gotten the same answer – parking.This does not fit a planner’s image. Trees and winding walkways and benches are all that is important to them. Go to Carson City, Nev., Grand Junction or Dillon and see what the planners there did to business. They killed it.What do the major commercial builders require? Parking. Ever see a shopping center with quaint little parking spots four or five blocks away? Whoever said that the Glenwood Springs downtown is a success is smoking some bad stuff. I nearly went broke there. The turnover rates are terrible, there is no parking and no reason to shop. Wal-Mart got a building in Avon for less than $6 a foot rent, plus a huge parking area, plus no sales tax to the town for 20 years. Try the same thing with small businesses in Breckenridge and you would be surprised how success would follow. The best advice to towns seeking to revitalize their businesses is to listen to successful locals who have actually run a business. Fire the planners and use their salaries for incentives.
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