The Durango Business Improvement District monitors statistics to help determine the economic health of downtown and north Main Avenue.
BID tracks six statistics monthly: Durango Transit ridership; enplanements and deplanements at the Durango-La Plata County Airport; door counts at the Durango Welcome Center in downtown and at the Visitors Center in Santa Rita Park; parking availability downtown; sales tax collections; and lodgers tax collections.
All categories are compared with the same month a year ago to show increases or decreases, except for parking availability, which was a new statistic in 2015.
Transit ridership was down in 2015 compared with 2014. This stems mainly from a drop in ridership on the Main Avenue Trolley. This was expected when a $1 per-ride fare was put in place beginning in 2015. If you compare the Trolley ridership numbers with the last time there was a fee to ride the Trolley, the rider counts show an increase.
Enplanements and deplanements at the airport were slightly down for 2015 compared with 2014. About 4,000 fewer people got on a plane, and about 6,000 fewer people got off a plane last year. Frontier Airlines served Durango in 2014, but ceased its service in 2015, which resulted in the loss of 18,000 passengers. The American Airlines fights to Phoenix and Dallas showed double-digit percentage increases, but they were not quite enough to make up for the loss of Frontier flights.
The counts of people at the Welcome and Visitor centers both showed increases. The Welcome Center experienced a 9.3 percent increase, with more than 112,000 people going through the facility. The Visitors Center had an incredible 62 percent increase, with just more than 64,000 people visiting in 2015.
Lodgers tax collections for 2015 showed an increase of 7.4 percent compared to 2014. As new hotels are built, and the demand to vacation here remains high, this category should see continued increases.
Sales tax also showed healthy increases in 2015. Sales tax collections for the entire city were up by 5.8 percent compared with 2014. The Central Business District saw an increase of 6.7 percent, and north Durango increased by 5.8 percent.
Parking availability, as noted, does not have comparison data from prior years, but we will be able to do those comparisons in 2016. The city counts the number of available spaces several times each month during the work week and shares that data with BID. For 2015, 35 percent of the metered parking spaces are typically available during the work week.
BID will continue to monitor these statistics to look for trends.
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email@example.com. Tim Walsworth is executive director of the Durango Business Improvement District.