Durango has had many outstanding City Councils. One of the best was when Sandy Thompson was the mayor. Sandy was a writer, an editor at The Durango Herald and the director of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.
He guided the city through some difficult decisions. At one point, the nature of our historic downtown was threatened. Building restrictions, sign codes, lighting, trees on Main Avenue and more resulted in heated discussions.
Dozens of open discussions were held at council and planning commission meetings. The council and planners had their ideas, but during the discussions, everyone listened and heard. The council, in live session, broadcast on the radio, voted and made a decision. No one got everything they wanted, but our historic Main Avenue was preserved.
Contrast that with our present council. A majority of the council decided they want to redo Main Avenue into a two-lane bistro district with room for festivals. They hired a consulting company that put together a survey that gave no option but to support this pre-ordained decision.
Then, they emailed it to “everyone” in Durango and used the results to move forward. Only 5% of the people, supposedly city residents, responded. Most people throw email surveys into their trash folder.
Somehow, it doesn’t seem right that a decision that is going to cost millions and destroy the historic downtown should be decided based on a fixed email survey.
It is not too late. This City Council can still step up and do the right thing.