Time to get plain, old optimistic in Durango

“Cautious optimism” is a phrase we’ve all heard before, and it’s one I think sounds like a cop-out. I say: “Come on. Whatever the outlook may be, give it to me straight.”

It sounds similarly like the phrase “Now don’t hold me to it, but …” What kind of world is this? Nobody wants to go the least bit out on a limb or be left without a political escape route.

Why has it gotten to be acceptable to be able to retract, reverse, back up and detach oneself from something as harmless as an opinion? (Unless of course you are the head of the Federal Reserve).

In this year of heightened national politics, we are going to hear a lot of statements made that do nothing for our collective confidence or determination. Don’t listen, and don’t accept the notion that leadership of any kind without commitment or conviction is at all what we dutiful followers need.

So here I go with a few statements, knowing full well that at sometime in the future someone may say to me “But you said …blah, blah, blah.”

In many ways, Durango is on a roll. We are steadily moving upward out of the economic recession. Revenue collected from sales tax has been positive for more than a year. Year-to-date, the city of Durango is up 3.9 percent, and I fully expect that trend to continue. And because talented and thoughtful people are working on the unexpected $600,000 loss of revenue, city services and programs will adjust and we’ll move forward.

This will be the busiest summer Durango has ever seen, measured by the number of special events and the attendees at those events. Our hosting of the start of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August will be a smashing success and set a new high bar for other host cities to follow.

Monthly economic activity from tourism is sound and steady. Our downtown streets are busy, and our visitors leave money behind and take home great stories about our town. Why not, it’s a great town.

The opening of the Durango Welcome Center will attract statewide attention for its unique presentation and collaborative approach to providing public information and services. The Welcome Center will elevate the presence of Fort Lewis College, and as a result, the college reputation and enrollment will grow.

National recognition of Durango by outdoor and quality-of-life publications will continue. These accolades for our scenic attributes, quality of life, recreational diversity and historic downtown are no fluke. We are doing a lot of things right, and it’s getting noticed.

I heard a saying the other day, “We function at the level of our perspective of ourselves.” So, if our perspective is only cautiously optimistic, our expectations and outcomes are likely to be compromised. Let’s aim high and then climb higher.

So here I go. The weather on the Fourth of July will be sunny – but don’t hold me to it.

kunkelra@cidurango.co.us Bob Kunkel is the downtown business development manager for the city of Durango and executive director of the Business Improvement District.