Good indicator of local success is endurance

On Sept. 3, Durango will celebrate the 100th anniversary City Charter signing, an act that created the city council-city manager form of local government we have today.

For a small frontier town, this step was considered a cutting-edge, progressive move setting Durango apart from other early settlements. Apparently, that new idea has endured the test of time.

For the last 100 months, on the same day at the same time, the downtown business community has gathered at City Hall to hear a business briefing on the latest issues, current projects and future events.

The meeting is billed as What’s Up Downtown, or WUD, and is hosted by the city of Durango. The format is fast-paced, informative and the one-hour time limit has earned it the nickname, “the fastest hour in government.”

The first WUD meeting was held in November 2003, and this last week marked the 100th consecutive monthly meeting. Apparently, the information is relevant, the format is enjoyable and so it too has endured the test of time.

In 100 days, the city and Business Improvement District will open the new Durango Welcome Center. If you haven’t heard, the Welcome Center will serve as a centrally located (802 Main Avenue) visitor-service facility that will be staffed by trained tourism hosts (Durango Area Tourism Office employees) and will be open daily.

Services will be general information about area attractions and public facilities, maps, reservations, event ticket sales, small retail items and public restrooms.

Also, it will serve Fort Lewis College as a major presence with representatives to sell concert tickets, promote student recruitment, arrange campus tours, conduct visitor research and promote FLC alumni and athletic programs.

All dimensions of the greater Durango experience will be promoted through advertising options such as graphic wall displays, brochure distribution racks and electronic screens and videos.

This type of downtown facility is long overdue for a community whose economy is strongly dependent on serving its visitors needs. By all accounts, the Durango Welcome Center should be a great addition to downtown.

Now, I’m not smart enough to be able to make any comparisons or draw any conclusions from any of the above, except that when people want to get stuff done, it gets done. It starts with an idea that sometimes needs a while to catch on, and then with commitment and growing enthusiasm the idea moves forward. Eventually, with patience and perseverance, the idea comes to fruition leaving only time and results to determine if the original concept was a good one. Bob Kunkel is the downtown business development manager for the city of for Durango and executive director of the Business Improvement District.