Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
When the estimated 25,000 visitors descend upon Durango for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Greg Walton plans to be headed in the opposite direction.
Walton, a window cleaner, is hoping a USA Pro Cycling Challenge tourist will pay for his trip out of town as he is making his East Third Avenue home available for rent during the week leading up to the race.
“I am going to Salida to ride my mountain bike and then maybe to Denver to visit family,” Walton said.
As a cyclist himself, he is tempted to stay to “see all the festivities, but I think it’s going to be crazy.”
So a decision by the city of Durango to suspend taxes and fees on vacation rentals during the week of the second annual stage race is making a lot of sense to Durango residents who otherwise might not have made their homes available for rent.
“It’s a little awkward thinking about somebody in your home, but we figured we would give it a try,” Walton said.
Vince and Lisa Prugh are making two rooms available as “a test to see how it feels to have strangers in the house.”
Because the rooms have separate entrances, the rooms have the potential to become a more permanent rental property.
“Both of us are retired. It would be nice to have a little more of an income stream,” Lisa Prugh said.
Because she has a detached apartment on her property, Patti Baranowski thought she should do her civic duty and make it available.
“We heard everything was filled up. We thought, ‘Why not?’ It might help the situation. It seemed like the city was asking people to do this,” Baranowski said.
She normally uses the garage apartment as an artist studio. It has a bathroom and a futon. Family members usually stay there during visits.
“People would have to park on the street, but we have a place for them to park their bicycles,” Baranowski said. “For a few nights, I think it would work out.”
About a month before the big race, many prospective landlords had not gotten any offers, but the feeling was that tourists would wait until the last minute to book their accommodations. Prices were varying widely, such as $89 a night for an efficiency or $2,000 for a house for the week, according to classified ads. Many prospective landlords said they were willing to negotiate the price.
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge could not come at a better time for Janet Wilson, who normally takes boarders at her Riverview neighborhood house.
Renting to tourists “would be helpful because I’m in a transition month in August,” Wilson said. “I won’t have new people moving in until Sept. 1. The other tenants are moving out in July.”
Wilson could rent out as many as six rooms, including accommodations in a recreational vehicle, her Classic Airstream trailer.
“I am not trying to charge huge prices, but if I can help somebody out, that would be nice,” she said.