Park City will roll into Breckenridge in September | ParkRecord.com

Park City will roll into Breckenridge in September

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

A group of Park City leaders and other Parkites plan to roll into Colorado in September as part of an annual outing to other destinations in the West.

There will undoubtedly be discussions about growth, transportation and the environment, as there are during each of the so-called City Tours.

But there is also expected to be some chatter, if not formal discussion, that falls into the Rocky Mountain high category. Colorado allows people to purchase marijuana for recreational and medical uses. Marijuana is sold in Breckenridge.

Myles Rademan, the tour organizer and the director of the Leadership Park City training program, said town staffers in Breckenridge could address marijuana sales in the community and the impact on the economy. It does not seem that marijuana sales will be an overriding issue on the City Tour.

A spokesperson for the town government in Breckenridge, Kim Dykstra, said presenters there do not intend to make marijuana a focus in their remarks to the Park City group. She said there are five entities in Breckenridge that hold licenses to sell marijuana either on a retail basis or for medical purposes.

Dykstra said a tourism survey showed 85 percent of the people who responded indicated the availability of marijuana in Breckenridge was not an important factor as they decided where to visit. The survey also showed nearly three-quarters of the respondents said the availability of marijuana did not impact their experience in Breckenridge, she said.

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Park City has for years embarked on City Tours around the region, stopping in large cities, medium-sized communities and smaller mountain resorts. The trips, organizers say, provide an opportunity to learn about programs, projects and policies elsewhere, including in some of Park City’s mountain resort competitors.

The trip is scheduled to run Sept. 9-13. The travelers will spend three nights in Breckenridge and one night in Grand Junction. The estimated cost per person is $750. Taxpayer money typically funds the trips by government officials. The other travelers either pay themselves or are funded by their organizations. Between 60 and 70 people normally travel on the City Tour, a collection of Leadership Park City participants, government officials, businesspeople and members of the not-for-profit community. Last year’s trip stopped in the Colorado mountain resorts of Vail and Steamboat. The City Tour last traveled to Breckenridge in the 1990s, Rademan said.

"Breckenridge is similar to Park City in a lot of ways," Rademan said.

He said Breckenridge, like Park City, is a historic community experiencing growth. He also noted that Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts owns the mountain resort in Breckenridge as well. Breckenridge’s ski industry is much busier than that of Park City, he said.

Rademan said the travelers plan to hold meetings with town officials in Breckenridge to discuss issues like affordable housing, transportation and parking. He said transportation and parking information will be of interest since Breckenridge draws many skiers who drive to the resort from the Denver area.

He said the City Tour also anticipates hearing from Vail Resorts. The Colorado-based company acquired PCMR in 2014 and is linking PCMR and Canyons Resort into a single property prior to the opening of the 2015-2016 ski season. He wants executives from Vail Resorts to speak to the group and he wants the travelers to learn about relations between Vail Resorts and the town government in Breckenridge.

Dykstra, the Breckenridge town spokesperson, said there is a "good working relationship" between the government and Vail Resorts. In the past decade, as an example, the town of Breckenridge and Vail Resorts partnered on a gondola used for transportation purposes between the mountain resort and an off-site parking lot. She also described planning efforts between the town government and Vail Resorts involving condominiums, a hotel and parking.

"We don’t agree 100 percent on everything . . . We try to work together," she said about the relationship with Vail Resorts.

Dykstra said officials in Breckenridge also want to describe efforts in economic development, the downtown core, parking and transit. A driving tour of affordable housing and childcare projects is planned, she said. Dykstra said the Park City group could learn about a desire to build a large parking garage, perhaps with up to 900 spaces, in downtown Breckenridge.

A tentative schedule for the trip includes tours of a creative arts district in Breckenridge, a historic tour there and a barbecue dinner. A lunch is planned with Vail Resorts officials on Sept. 11 and a group tour and meetings are scheduled later that day with Vail Resorts. The next day, the travelers plan to meet with officials in Eagle County, the county in which Vail is situated, and go on a rafting trip on the Colorado River. The trip arrives in Grand Junction the evening of Sept. 12. A tour of downtown Grand Junction is scheduled before a dinner with officials there.

Anyone interested in attending the City Tour may contact Karen Anderson at City Hall, 615-5186 or karen.anderson@parkcity.org . The organizers want a diverse group to travel and several slots on the City Tour remained available late in the week.