Head of tourism office steps down
The head of the Durango Area Tourism Office has announced that
she will be stepping down. Executive Director Mary Hart announced last week that she would resign
from the position effective Dec. 19.
Hart was hired in April of 2002 following the split of the
Durango Area Chamber Resort Association (DACRA) into the Durango Chamber of Commerce and the new
Durango Area Tourism Office. Bob Kunkel, chairman of the DATO board, commented, "Mary accepted a
very challenging situation, in as much as DATO was basically a start-up tourism-promotion
organization that needed a completely new business plan and an aggressive new approach to
marketing the Durango area, and we needed it yesterday."
Kunkel noted that during Hart's 20-month tenure, Durango
tourism was negatively impacted by many external factors. He cited the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks,
the local wildfires and extended Western drought, shakeout in the U.S. airline industry, the
prolonged downturn in the U.S. economy and the war in Iraq as hits on local visitation.
"Tourism promotion in good times is as tough and
competitive an industry as any," Kunkel said. "The DATO board is very grateful for the commitment,
dedication and sacrifice that the entire DATO staff has demonstrated getting our organization
through some very challenging times."
DATO and local tourism are also poised for a strong future
according to Kunkel. "Right now the organization is running well," he said. "DATO is on solid
ground financially and strategically, the 2004 business and marketing plans are written, submitted
and approved, the budget year will start with approximately $125,000 in marketing reserves, and
all the latest tourism trend data suggests that the public's interest in vacation travel is
The DATO board expects hiring a new executive director to
take several months. Current staff will handle day-to-day marketing and operations until that
City unleashes Durango Dog Park
A citizen-based push for a local off-leash area paid off last
week when the Durango Dog Park opened at the base of Smelter. The park is the result of a
collaborative effort that began early this year and included work by the Durango Dog Park
Initiative, the city of Durango and Trails 2000.
Cathy Metz, Durango parks and recreation director,
explained that there were few improvements to the park and the park gained City Council approval
early this summer. However, access, parking and approvals for the Department of Health and
Department of Energy took time. The 10-acre park is on a reclaimed tailings pile across the river
from the whitewater park and the wastewater treatment plant. Consequently, the Department of
Health and Department of Energy had to sign off on it. Trails 2000 also came on board to
facilitate access by building a trail beneath the U.S. Hwy 160 bridge. Dog owners are asked to
park at Schneider Park on the west end of 9th Street and follow a dirt trail to the park.
All told, the park cost less than $2,000, according to
Metz. "We wanted to keep the improvements low in cost and the group wanted to keep it natural,"
Metz also said that the area is enjoying success despite
cold temperatures. "The word's out and it appears to be popular already," she said. "We'll
certainly see more people out there as it warms up, and we get closer to next summer."
The city asks people to adhere to the following
Owners must visually supervise and have voice-control over all
Aggressive dogs are not permitted.
Owners are legally responsible for any injury or destruction of
property their dogs cause.
Owners must have their dogs on leashes when entering and leaving the
All dogs must be properly licensed, vaccinated and wear a collar with
Owners must respect other users.
Grandview passes another hurdle
The Durango Planning Commission moved the Grandview development
a step closer to realization last week. On Wednesday, Dec. 10, the commission adopted the
Grandview Area Plan by a vote of 3 to 1.
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has requested annexation of
682 acres for its proposed 2,211-unit development. A central component of the tribe's Grandview
development is the donation of land to Mercy Medical Center, which plans to leave its undersized
building in downtown Durango and relocate to an expanded facility.
24, the Planning Commission delayed a decision because of a property line discrepancy with
adjacent subdivisions, said City Planner Greg Hoch. To solve the problem, the tribe removed the
contended sections of the property from the annexation petition and resubmitted it for approval
Planning Commission member Jay Wheeler lodged the one
opposing vote, saying that he was opposed not to the development per se but to the accelerated
process. He advocated taking more time to discuss the ambitious plan with the community.
community will have an opportunity to discuss the Grandview Area Plan when it goes before the
Durango City Council during its Jan. 5 meeting.
Fort Lewis honors Sam Maynes
Fort Lewis College will present Durango attorney Frank E. "Sam"
Maynes with its Distinguished Service Award for the 2003-04 academic year at winter commencement
ceremonies this Saturday.
President Robert Dolphin, Jr. said Maynes is being
recognized for his advocacy and continued support of important issues to southwestern Colorado and
Fort Lewis College.
been a pillar of the community for many years," said Dolphin. "He was a long-time member of the
Fort Lewis College Foundation Board and a dedicated friend of the college. He provided superior
counsel and guidance on numerous issues."
who has practiced law in southwestern Colorado for more than 40 years, is the senior partner in
the law firm Maynes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel. His practice includes acting as general
counsel for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Southwestern Water Conservation District of
Colorado, and as counsel for the San Miguel Water Conservation District, the Dolores Water
Conservancy District, and the Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District.
Many water project opponents take a somewhat different
view of Maynes. He played a key role in gaining the federal Dolores Project for Colorado, which
created McPhee Reservoir on the Dolores River. He has also been an outspoken advocate for the
Animas-La Plata Water Project
compiled by Will Sands