Opinion | James Manella: Development must be slowed to protect town
Breckenridge mayoral candidate
- Occupation: Retired member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
- Years in Summit County: 10 full time in Breckenridge
- Civic involvement: Founded The Kenosha County Scholarship Reward to incentive high school dropouts to obtain their GED or high school diploma, Breckenridge Cleanup Days, and Breckenridge Ski Resort Guest Services volunteer.
I’m James Manella, a candidate for mayor of Breckenridge in the 2020 municipal election. As a candidate, I offer you a solid choice aside from the insider status quo. I have lived full time in Breckenridge for 10 years; however, my history in Breckenridge and Colorado goes back to the mid-1970s, when our family and friends traveled to Colorado to ski or attend summer camp, sometimes visiting my sister, a Denver Public School teacher, who was just starting her family.
After I began my career at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and trading foreign exchange for a New York government bond dealer, in 1988 our firm was bought by a large Japanese bank that decided to make some changes, and I found myself in my Toyota heading west to Breckenridge in summer 1989. I rented the house at 112 S. French St. across from St. Mary’s and sublet the extra space to lifties at the ski resort, which was then owned by Victoria Ski Corp., a Japanese company. By the end of that awesome 1989-90 ski season, I had secured a new job with another bank and headed back east to resume my career, hoping someday I would return to live here permanently.
As the years passed, I visited frequently on vacations and long weekends cementing the bonds I had formed so many years ago. Fast forward, and I’m in my 60s, living an active life in what for me is still a magical kingdom. I truly, happily live my dream here in Breckenridge.
Slow development to help maintain community character
Development is at a breakneck pace throughout Summit County. If the Breckenridge vision of the past is still relevant, this must be regulated. Unregulated, fast-paced development causes unruly changes in community character and quality of life for full-time residents who bear the brunt of these changes. Parking meters, traffic, overcrowding, etc., make residents feel disenfranchised — or worse, unsafe — as tourists fill the town.
As mayor, I would encourage a limit on construction projects occurring at the same time to reduce the amount of construction traffic and noise. With the new parking garage soon to be a reality, I would suggest a resident parking permit allowing the residents to park without fear of a parking ticket. I would encourage courtesy and compliance with traffic laws by the construction industry.
Safety and security of residents and visitors
As the town swells with visitors, not all are here for a vacation. Alcohol centered “in-vents,” inventing any reason to stage an alcohol event, are planned for every weekend in the summer, scattering inebriated people through town and sometimes resulting in an image contrary to our best interests. Recent violent crimes have occurred on Main Street, Colorado Highway 9 and Ski Hill Road.
Spring melt-off creates severe danger to tourists allowing their children to play near the river downtown. These are risks we can mitigate.
As mayor, I would suggest meaningful reductions in the number of alcohol events in town, instead encouraging cultural, athletic and fitness events. I would enforce the no littering and smoking ordinances already on the books.
Wildfire evacuation procedures and assimilation through media and seminars.
James Manella is one of three candidates for the mayor of Breckenridge.
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