Wednesday, January 30, 2008

IT'S SNOWDOWN! Today begins Snowdown, Durango's crazy celebration of winter. With this years theme of "Ye Olde Snowdown" expect to see the streets and castles of Durango packed with Lords, Miladies, vassals, serfs and knaves.

The next 5 days will be filled with over 60 contests, events, gatherings and silly entertainments for everyone's merry making pleasure.

Highlights of the week include the Snowdown Follies, a very adult spoof of everything and everyone important and Friday's Snowdown Light Parade down Main Avenue.

Saturday, Mary & I together with Re/Max host the Snowdown Chili Cookoff. Contestants will vie for cash and trophies and Red, Green and Vegetarian Chili and Salsa. All four of the local micro-brewers will be there and the Hillstompers band from Alamosa with enteratain (they're a scream.)

If you're visiting town or a local, come by the Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall Saturday February 2 at noon. If you're not a local --- you should be!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

DIGGIN' OUT: Whew - what a storm. This morning the sun is bright, the sky is blue. But yesterday we spent the day clearing 17" of snow from the drive and deck.

The Durango Herald reported this morning on the depressed real estate markets across the country. Don't tell that to the three sets of buyers in town looking at our listings. One of the properties is vacant so today will be spent clearing the snow for access.

It's looking like this year will be similar to those past. We are just as busy as in the summer.

Friday, January 18, 2008

COMMON SENSE PREVAILS (SO FAR)! The Historic Preservation Board became the latest group to weigh in on the future of Durango's sidewalks. Its decision was no different than that reflected by recent public opinion: If it's not broke, don't fix it.

The City of Durango contracted Walzak Design Resources in May to provide design options for city sidewalks. The design options created by Walzak ranged from making property owners pay for sidewalk upgrades as needed to a complete overhaul of Main Avenue that would entail reducing traffic lanes from 4 to 3 and widening the sidewalks.

It appears at this point that the movement to drastically alter the look of our historic downtown is dying a slow death. Durango is unique - let's keep it that way.

Monday, January 14, 2008

ECONOMY: At the Southwest Business Forum, an annual event sponsored by Fort Lewis College, speakers presented summaries and projections for the national, state and local economies.

Compared to the gloomy national outlook, things are slightly better in Colorado and La Plata County in particular. Luke Miller, co-director of the Fort Lewis Office of Economic Analysis and Business Research, spoke specifically about La Plata County.

La Plata is experiencing its own housing industry crises, as the median price home price for single family and condominium homes dropped by 10 percent after double digit increases since 2003. Miller called the single family statistic a "healthy correction."

One of the most telling factors identified by Miller was a 24 percent drop in La Plata County building permits in 2007. He gave credit to local builders for their foresight in not making the situation worse. In other areas builders just kept building.

Good news for the local La Plata economy - Miller said the tourism industry, in general, is healthy. Traffic is up 7 percent at the Durango-La Plata County Airport and up 2 percent at Mesa Verde National Park, lodgers tax revenues rose 8.9 percent, and Durango Mountain Resort reported 217,000 visits - 6000 more than in 2006. "All of this is very reflective of a healthy economy," Miller said.

Comparing industry, agriculture, employment and retail statistics for La Plata County and Colorado to the national averages Miller said the situation in Colorado is better than much of the nation.

Friday, January 11, 2008

WHAT A START! So far January has been quite a wonderful hand full. We've had terrific snowfalls. Purgatory is up to a 76" base and the skiing is fabulous. With the construction of the new lodge and condominiums underway its a little difficult to get around but worth it. There's nothing more beautiful than the snow covered San Juans shining in brilliant sunlight backed by a pure blue sky.

We have had buyers in town nearly every day. Our Internet property inquiries and emails are surprisingly strong for this early in the year. We believe our market will continue to be vibrant and strong. People are seeking refuge from city congestion, crime and confusion.

You can be a part of our community. Give us call if we can help. We'll get back to you the minute we get off the slopes.