Editorial: Heard this before?
A divide between private and public interests in Breckenridge is creating interesting coffee-shop debates about the future of the town and, most importantly, its character.
Because resort towns usually get who they target, marketing determines a lot about our character. For example, in the past we’ve shown off our bars and nightclubs on MTV, and the spring breakers arrived. In contrast this year, as we reported last week, the private sector is building multi-million dollar palaces and courting celebrities. Not everyone is thrilled.
In Breckenridge’s case, this ideological divide is nothing new. The Town’s marketing arm, the Breckenridge Resort Chamber, has always advertised the town to meet goals based on year-to-year growth in retail sales and full beds. The other extreme, those who say “Enough is enough,” again are asking the town to define when it becomes “overcrowded,” or too popular for its own good.
There is no correct answer, of course, but any answer is a measure of one’s tolerance for growth. Our wealthy restrict the affordability to a scale not seen in most towns, and as home prices rise, the towns become more out of touch to the working class. The town, again in contrast, has said keeping a stable working class is a priority and appropriately has invested millions in housing and daycare.
In the best case scenario, a harmony will be found as a balance between the public and private interests. The uber-wealthy can live here, but they’ll also be paying for daycare teachers and housing subsidized by the town. In the Aspen and Vail scenario, the private sector’s influence dwarves all other interests, for better or worse.
Either way, the identity question has long nagged at Breckenridge, and with a new daycare center being built within sight of its multi-million dollar gondola, the philosophical divide has never been so evident, which might explain why the age-old argument is as fresh as ever.
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