Newsletter 9


Hello Friends!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with family, friends and relaxation!

I’m excited to share with you some of the results of the new initiative I’m introducing on “Your Front Row Seat.” I recently kicked off what will become a regular feature: a reader survey.

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! My mission is to encourage and empower my readers to stay on top of, and in tune with, the dynamic issues and initiatives that impact all of us who call Durango home. One of my key goals is to provide all members of our community with the opportunity to voice opinions and concerns and to know that they (YOU!) will be heard.

In order to ensure that this blog authentically represents the voice of Durango (YOUR voice), I’m on a quest to gather as much information as possible on the versatile and variable perspectives of as many community members as possible. I want to know what concerns and passions, with regard to both Durango’s present and future, are closest to the hearts of my friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens. I’ll then make that data available to you – and to the Durango public in general – through my blog, with the hope of encouraging dialogue and fostering greater understanding and cooperation on issues that matter to all of us.

This first survey posed a series of ‘baseline’ questions related to challenges Durango faces and how those challenges might best be met. I’ll share a brief snapshot of responses from a diverse cross-section of readers with you now. Please note, these represent only a sample of responses and there is no prioritization or significance to the order in which I list them. A blog will be posted on ‘Your Front Row Seat’ with more comprehensive survey results.

What are the top three obstacles Durango faces as it continues to grow?

-Homeless/panhandling impact on businesses, residents and tourism

-Lack of a strategic economic growth plan

-Affordable and attainable housing and absence of policies to promote such development

-Better paying jobs

-Roads and infrastructure

-Maintaining a quality K-12 education system

Please share the measures you’d like to see implemented to combat perceived problems/challenges.

Investment in non-auto related commuting options and better fee based public transportation; public transit plan that can support itself

– Explore options that can extend sewer and water to areas near Bodo, where growth can more easily be accommodated

-Develop streamlined City and County planning processes with less regulation

-Diversify our economy and encourage other businesses, including businesses unrelated to tourism, to locate here

What do you see as the biggest successes of our community in the past three years?

-Animas River Trail progress

-Open Space Acquisitions

-The successful passing of the 9R mill levy to support our schools

-A new ski area owner that is investing in capital improvements

-The City of Durango’s effort to encourage multifamily housing

-Maintaining a vibrant downtown area

What would you like to see more of in terms of successes?

-Overpass or underpass across Camino del Rio connecting Animas River Trail to downtown

-River corridor development

-Winter special events

-Ensure the public lands around town and in the region remain accessible to the public for recreation and adventure

-Greater interactions between town and Fort Lewis College Administration and faculty

Again, that’s only a sneak peek. I do want to thank all the individuals who took time to complete the survey! Responses were timely, focused, and often extremely detailed. Due to the broad nature of my survey questions, responses may be lengthy (and very time consuming to read and analyze), making it impossible to invite all readers to participants in every survey. If you weren’t contacted this time, hang in there! And don’t forget that you are always welcome to email me directly with questions, suggestions, and opinion – or to post comments directly on my blog.

I’ll showcase more detail from this initial survey in a coming blog post. And I’ll continue to ask for your input with future surveys focused on COMMUNITY, OUTDOOR RECREATION and EDUCATION.

More next week!

Here’s to a beautiful Durango December – a winter wonderland no matter what the weather! How did it get here SOOO fast?

Melissa Youssef
Blogger, ‘Your Front Row Seat’

Focusing on Issues and Initiatives Significant to All who Call Durango Home


Published: December 1, 2016