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We're special, darn it, because we say so

All our children are above average, and we're special, and it's not just us that says so.

OK, I'm joking about some of that, but sometimes it's good to have an outsider come to a small town and point out the obvious.

Some folks who know about economic development and design and other stuff that appeals to visitors were in our fair city on Monday and Tuesday. They work and volunteer for Downtown Colorado, Inc., and they've visited about 90 small towns in Colorado to focus on downtown revitalization.

They said we do some things right.

For those of us trying to work at our jobs and raise kids and contribute to our community, that was nice to hear.

And there are a lot of us who do just that!

Katherine Correll and her staff and volunteers pointed out a lot of things Bayfield has going for it, including the new Performing Arts Center at the high school, the Pine River Senior Center and its lovely riverside location, and a library and town staff that offer a lot of things that many towns our size don't have.

Pine River Shares and the Bayfield Family Center, the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce (conflict alert - I'm president) and Pine River Heritage Society are other strong components of our community, they said.

We're known for having a good school system.

She said a lot of small towns just focus on visitors instead of what they have. I'll be honest, most of the visitors around here head to Vallecito or Durango, so that's a problem we just don't have!

Having some more jobs, businesses and services here so we don't have to run to Durango all the time would be nice, of course.

We have made some progress there, too. The new Mercy Regional clinic means we don't have to go to Durango to see a doctor or nurse. Evening's Porch is a new assisted living facility that provides a place for some of our residents to live and is creating some jobs, as well.

Expanding our agricultural production and maybe helping some businesses find a place to set up shop here would be a good way to provide some more jobs.

The City of Durango says Bodo Park is at capacity, and pointed out that jobs there pay higher wages than those in other businesses.

How about a light industrial park in Bayfield? Or Ignacio? We are the towns with the land and water - that seems like a no-brainer to me.

What I hope we can avoid is that this turns into another cool plan that fizzles out in a few years. We've seen it happen before.

I think some paid staff is key here. Volunteers can't do all this stuff, and our town staff is awfully small and stretched thin.

So I don't know the answer to that one, but maybe it's something we can work on.

In the meantime, thank you Downtown Colorado, Inc. for visiting, and thank you to the Bayfield town staff for arranging the visit and doing the legwork.


Congratulations to our basketball boys in Ignacio and Bayfield! Every parent and coach I've talked with said both groups of boys played hard, acted graciously when they won and handled it well when they lost. How exciting to have two teams at state on one weekend.


Finally, if you haven't seen it yet, tonight is the finale of "Once Upon a Mattress" at BHS. The show is great, the musicians are top notch, and those kids and the directors have worked their tails off. Almost as good as the performance is actually being able to see it in a real theater! So I hope folks will go catch tonight's show. Curtain is at 7 p.m.

Thanks for reading.