Another mountain town doesn’t want to be Aspen or Vail

Brief by Allen Best

Community – April 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Yet another town doesn’t want to be like Aspen or Vail.

The comparisons were provoked by the property acquisitions of David J. Brown in Pagosa Springs and surrounding Archuletta County. The Durango Herald, which is headquartered 51 miles to the west, reports that Brown has spent $12.5 million buying 14 parcels in downtown Pagosa during the last two years, plus 12 other parcels outside the town, including some ranches with distinctly larger price tags.

Brown, who was identified as coming from California’s Silicon Valley, told the Herald he intended to revitalize downtown Pagosa by bringing in more upscale stores, hotels, and restaurants. But, he added, he had no intention of creating an overly expensive town like Vail or Aspen.

Although long a favorite for vacationing Texans, Pagosa Springs was recalled as sleepy until the mid to late 1990s (a description that could be applied to much of the West). In the last 15 years, the population doubled, and it is expected to double again in the next 20 years. Still, that will yield only 24,000 or so people, still rural by most standards.

As for what Pagosa Springs wants to be when it grows up, no word on that from the Herald — just that it doesn’t want to be Aspen or Vail.