Mayor Warner: State of the Town showcases Breckenridge’s accomplishments and projects
At the great suggestion of a fellow council person, I am writing my first “State of the Town” as a year-end assessment to bring our community up to speed on the town of Breckenridge’s accomplishments and projects. I see this as a “moving-forward-by-looking-back” executive summary for 2014-15. I invite you to delve deeper into our goals, achievements and milestones at http://www.townofbreckenridge.com, and then tell us what you think at http://www.EngageBreckenridge.com.
On the economic side, we’re seeing increases across all sectors, and the town is in great fiscal health. While final YE figures are not in, revenues are estimated to be up by 8 percent from 2013, while expenditures are slated to come in under budget by 4 percent. Council approved a balanced budget for 2015, and we are feeling cautiously optimistic about our local economy’s continued positive growth.
Accomplishments in 2014 include the transformation of the 1909 schoolhouse into the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center & Summit County South Branch Library. This great partnership with Summit County allows this historic icon to advance lifelong 21st century learning and serves our entire community, including our guests. This was a unique “win-win-win” in nearly every aspect of the project.
After a 10-year process, the Main Street Revitalization project came to completion, improving the guest experience on arguably our community’s most important physical asset — historic Main Street. What you can see is that aesthetics and public safety were enhanced; what you can’t see is the improved quality of water entering into the Blue River because of the increased functionality of storm sewers and sediment traps.
Also in the capital improvement projects (CIP) arena, we completed a major overhaul of the Skate Park and installed artificial turf on the Kingdom Park multi-pitch field. The new Prospector Park on North Main Street is slated for completion early summer 2015.
2014 saw the creation of a nonprofit organization — Breckenridge Creative Arts — to manage and operate the town’s cultural facilities and to elevate Breckenridge as a recognized leader in the arts. With CEO Robb Woulfe at BCA’s helm, the build-out of the Arts District campus was completed and renovation of the Olde Masonic Hall began; 2015 will feature major improvements to the Breckenridge Theatre and numerous new, exciting programs and events.
Breckenridge welcomed (back) Lucy Kay as the CEO of GoBreck, formerly known as the Breckenridge Resort Chamber, and marked the first year of the chamber’s official transformation into a destination marketing organization. The former head of Breckenridge Ski Resort, Lucy brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and passion to greatly benefit our tourism-driven economy.
Colorado, and Breckenridge, completed the first year of legalized sales of retail marijuana in 2014. While we’ve allowed medical marijuana centers since 2009 and have been very accepting of the decriminalization of marijuana, the community grappled with where to locate retail stores. As the year came to a close, and after much public debate, the council heard from the citizens through a special vote. By a margin of nearly 2 to 1, citizens voted not to allow retail marijuana establishments in the downtown core.
Looking forward, town capital projects include the next phase of the reclamation and restoration of the Blue River on the McCain property, continued road resurfacing, median and roundabout improvements at the entrance to town and the next stage of heated sidewalk installation in shaded, steep sections for pedestrian safety.
In 2015, we strive to stay true to the Breckenridge Vision: a cohesive and diverse community where residents and visitors experience a historic mountain town with characteristic charm that offers a safe, friendly and peaceful atmosphere where individuals can live, work, play and raise a family. To that end, it is vital to keep employees in our community, so we continue to focus on long-term solutions for workforce housing and child care. Did you know that because of Breckenridge’s efforts to provide affordable homes, 100,000 commuter miles are saved every day because 45 percent of our employees reside in our community? And our workforce contributes $15 million to our economy!
Parking and transit management remain focal points for 2015, and we are grateful to those serving on the task force to help us with creative, palatable ideas. Other goals include continual progress on the SustainableBreck Action Plan and long-term water solutions (including planning for the second water plant).
I could go on about the many achievements of our beloved town, but for now a big thank-you to town staff, and to you — our citizens — for your support, engagement and insights. Please learn more about the town’s goals, achievements and milestones at http://www.townofbreckenridge.com (search for State of the Town), and then let us know what you think at http://www.EngageBreckenridge.com.
Recently, I was riding a chairlift with a gentleman who has been visiting for years and now calls Breckenridge his home. He relayed that “Breckenridge just keeps getting better and better.” It takes countless, collective efforts to achieve accolades like this, and I look forward to working collaboratively to keep our Breckenridge Vision shining bright.
John Warner is the mayor of Breckenridge.
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