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Summit realtors discuss economy

Last week, The Summit Association of Realtors hosted an economic dialogue to discuss the current direction of Summit County’s economy and what community leaders are doing to improve it. Officials from Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne, Summit County Government and Vail Resorts Development Company all gathered before the crowd to talk about the current states – and priorities – of their respective entities.

“As the economy has lagged, everybody is looking for ways to get the economy back,” said Sarah Thorsteinson, government affairs director for the Summit Association of Realtors. “How do you get it going again? From a real estate perspective, it’s not just about getting the housing market going again; it’s about getting the community going again.”

Breckenridge town manager Tim Gagen, Summit County manager Gary Martinez, Dillon Mayor Ron Holland, Silverthorne town manager Kevin Batchelder, Frisco town manager Michael Penny, Frisco Mayor Bill Pelham and Vail Resorts Development Company senior vice president Alex Iksendrian all gave an update about what they’re doing to improve economic development in the current economy. They also answered questions specific to their entities, such as Breckenridge’s affordable housing situation, or the status of the Frisco Adventure Park.



“The questions were a little bit real estate focused, but they were also community focused,” Thorsteinson said. “Because realtors live in the community, it all comes back from the real estate perspective of: You don’t just sell a house, you sell the community. Realtors really want to have the best communities possible to help sell the property.”

Afterwards, audience members had the opportunity to ask questions.



“One of the issues that came up was affordable housing,” Thorsteinson said. “The towns think there’s never enough affordable housing, but the realtors said there are 14 deed-restricted houses in the Wellington neighborhood that aren’t selling. That’s where these dialogues come in handy.”

Thorsteinson said the dialogue between elected officials and the real estate community are especially important because the real estate market is one of the biggest job producers in the United States.

“The real estate construction industry drives the economy,” she said. “So it’s really important for us in the real estate industry to communicate with our elected officials and let them know what they’re doing is really great, or what needs to be worked on.”

Panel member Penny said any face-to-face time with interested people has value. He said sometimes it’s challenging to get into specifics when the panel is so diverse – the four towns, the county and Vail Resorts – but he hopes attendees walked away with a better knowledge of what community leaders are working on.


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