Letter: Spend 2A on tourist economy employee housing

I read the article in Steamboat Pilot & Today about the future of 2A funds with interest and would like to put forth my thoughts and opinion on the matter.

Over the past several years, 2A has funded the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, Haymaker Golf Course and our wonderful trail system, which both tourists and locals have enjoyed tremendously. Now, there is a crisis in Steamboat’s tourism industry, which 2A could help relieve.

The out-of-reach cost of housing has been an issue that has been brewing for years, but now, with the real estate boom in town, caused in part by the pandemic, it is boiling over. There are a number of other factors that have played into the issue of out-of-reach rent, but that is another conversation.

The bottom line is businesses that serve tourism can’t hire enough employees to provide decent customer service. They are forced to shorten their hours, not operate at capacity and, sometimes, close down all together. One reason for this crisis is potential employees can’t afford to rent a home or apartment here in Steamboat, so they go some place else.

I understand Steamboat is currently building a third affordable housing community, but it is not enough. If we want the tourists who are already coming to Steamboat to have a good experience and plan to come back in the future, we don’t need more marketing. We need to help businesses hire and retain enough employees to provide adequate customer service.

I am proposing we use the next phase of 2A funding to build tourist economy employee housing. This would leave our current affordable housing for teachers, medical workers and other essential workers who also continue to need housing in a community that is out of reach.

Locals, it goes without saying, when you do receive good service, please consider a generous tip.

Signed: Lucky to still live here,

Paige Boucher

Steamboat Springs

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