Bob Enever: Get public’s input
April 1, 2006
Jonathan Kaplan’s letter (The arts only get lip service In Steamboat) urges putting the money into arts facilities rather than into more athletic facilities.
The Chamber Resort Association has, in the past, concentrated its efforts on events in its understandable desire to fill rooms, restaurants and stores in the non-ski-season. Events fill rooms, but an alternative business plan would be to concentrate on demographics. Crudely put, to work on bringing fewer people who spend more money, and who come all season long rather than in bunches for events.
The alternative plan would involve a change of outlook and marketing plan for the chamber, and to a certain extent, the city, to one that markets, embraces and actively helps develop the arts, and other season-long activities. The present plan of getting big crowds for events makes our facilities over-full at certain times and discourages affluent people from coming to season-long activities. It also engenders hostility from those of us who just live here and pay taxes given to the Chamber for summer marketing.
The alternative also would involve some changes to the tourism product we are offering. Such changes might involve subsidized workshops for painters and other artists, perhaps subsidized professional theater, perhaps a performance and art museum facility (but can that really be consistent with a conference center?).
We already have a great start down this road with Strings in the Mountains, the Emerald City Opera, the Arts Council activities, Perry Mansfield, our theater, Music on the Green, the Botanic Park, the Community Orchestra, the Tread of Pioneers museum, Yampatika, the countless individuals and groups who perform popular music … there are many more. Our golf courses, fly fishing, tennis facilities and trail-riding ranches all support this theme of attracting affluent people who come all season long rather than relying on crowds who come for events. Those of us who just live here have a stake in how the community is marketed, because it’s our town too.
Let me suggest that the city sponsor open meetings on this subject with the chamber and take the pulse of the community as the basis for a plan.
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This is preferable to the present course of action, in which the chamber would spend time and money developing a complex plan with Triple Crown which those of us who just live here would have to try to defeat in conflict over funding at City Council and perhaps County Commissioner hearings.