Summit focuses on economy

Resort communities will discuss similar problem

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— The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association reported Tuesday that 200 people are expected to attend the 2002 Economic Summit that begins today.

That is on the higher end of attendance in the conference's seven-year history, said Sandy Evans-Hall, executive vice president of the Chamber Resort Association.

Although the summit has a cap of 250 attendees, Evans-Hall said this year's projected attendance is only exceeded by one other year, which saw 225 people.

The Economic Summit at the Sheraton Resort and Conference Center kicks off with a 4 p.m. talk by Amy Horne, the research director for the Sierra Business Council.

Horne will discuss how rural communities have capitalized on location, landscape, livability and entrepreneurial spirit to achieve their goals of creating quality places to live, raise families and own businesses.

This year's summit centers on a "Healthy Economy" and how similar communities and local companies have addressed issues that face Steamboat.

Speakers will share and compare their experiences in resort towns such as Jackson Hole, Park City and Tahoe.

Evans-Hall said the biggest attraction of the two-day event may be B.J. Fair, the CEO of American Skiing Co., who will speak at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday.

"I think most popular right now is B.J. Fair. A lot of people really want to hear what he has to say," Evans-Hall said. "One of the things they would like to know is if there is a plan for capital investment for our community given the financial state of ASC. That's the biggest question on everybody's mind."

The breakout sessions are another key component of the two-day summit.

Carol Bastow from the chamber said the two most popular sessions on Thursday morning are discussions on escalating healthcare costs and the Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative.

The health-care session will look at the impact of increasing costs, pending state legislation to control costs and workable solutions. Panelists include State Sen. Jack Taylor, Sue Birch from the Visiting Nurse Association, insurance agent Linda Fossi-Williams and Tim Jackson, a representative from the National Federation of Independent Business.

In the afternoon breakout session, Bastow said the most popular panel is the technology update, which will review steps being taken to bring current technology here.

Obstacles, current usage, demand, state-funded projects, the impact on present businesses and the ability to attract new businesses will be discussed.

Bastow said about 75 percent of the attendants at today's summit will be business owners and Steamboat locals. The rest of the participants are from around the state and a handful from other resort communities, she said.

A limited number of registrations are available at the door for $35 per person.

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