Mountain News: Economy bumps former concerns 

PARK CITY, Utah - A group called Citizens for Responsible Economic Growth and Vitality has formed in Park City with the specific challenge to local officials to achieve just that.

In Park City, as in all other ski towns, the challenge to government officials in recent years was to ameliorate the effects of an overheated real-estate economy. People were concerned about loss of open space to development, about worsening traffic congestion and about the need for affordable housing. In turn, however, revenues were high, bureaucracies grew and major new buildings debuted.

Now, public officials are having to adjust their priorities. In Breckenridge, for example, the town government chipped in an extra $250,000 last winter for marketing. With some evidence that the extra marketing resulted in an increased market share of skiers, the town is prepared to do the same this year.

But at the same time, Breckenridge will reduce snow removal this winter, reports the Summit Daily News. Tim Gagen, the town manager, said the snow-removal level will be more akin to a high-end Oldsmobile as compared to the former Cadillac-level.

In Vail, it's much the same story, according to a report in the Vail Daily . "The town will have to make some hard decisions in the next six months," says Stan Zemler, the town manager. "We can't sustain the path we're on today in the near term."

In Park City, the top priorities of years' past were improved walkability, reduced traffic congestion, and lower carbon emissions. But in an editorial, the Park Record agrees that it's a "discussion worth having" whether the town money should be jostled to reflect new imperatives.

In many places, affordable housing has become less urgent. That's certainly the case in Revelstoke, B.C., where a ski area with aspirations to become a major destination resort opened two years ago. Even then, real estate prices had been appreciating rapidly.

But real estate prices have dropped 10 to 20 per cent, officials tell the Revelstoke Times Review, and an affordable housing complex that might have ultimately yielded 200 units has been postponed indefinitely. There is only one person on the waiting list.

The story is the same in Jackson, Wyo., where administrators of the local hospital have decided against spending more money on a housing project intended to benefit hospital employees. Three homes and three rental units available to hospital employees already sit vacant.


Some rebound?

JACKSON, Wyo. - While governments in ski towns plan for continued decline of town revenues, here and there come hopeful signs of economic recovery in the real-estate sector.


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