I forget (we forget) that Durango is a geographically isolated small town of only 16,000 residents, and yet year after year, we achieve and accomplish more than larger-populated places.
While we have big appetites for projects and programs, I forget (we forget) that we have a small community pocketbook and limited resources.
So if its not population, nor unlimited riches that drives our successes, then its our people and our organizations that give Durango that little town that could reputation. That deserves some year-end recognition.
By the numbers, Durango has had a very good year. To-date citywide sales-tax receipts are up 3.6 percent compared with 2010, and downtown has steadily led the community back to health.
The use tax is up 15.8 percent year-to-date reflecting an increase in building activity. The lodgers tax is up 1.6 percent for the year indicating that both occupancy and room rates are returning to normal and local unemployment levels are steadily dropping.
Our ground-transit system has broken records highlighted by boarding its 500,000th passenger. The airport has posted double-digit passenger enplanement growth for two years and is currently running a 9 percent increase compared with last year.
Our excellent trail systems are still expanding. And the Durango Public Library visitation is up 16 percent.
Durangoans have shown economic resilience as well as compassion to help those in need.
Durangoans and our organizations continue to attract national attention. We were a perennial top finisher in outdoor sports magazine rankings, and we were recently named the No. 1 Micropolitan City in America this summer.
Our world-class cycling reputation earned Durango the starting venue for 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and that will generate significant international exposure.
Fort Lewis College celebrated its 100th anniversary by winning its third national soccer championship. The Durango Arts Center brought in a rare Seuss On The Loose exhibit. The Discovery Museum is now gaining wide recognition.
How many communities would give their all for a bustling, historic downtown, a first-class narrow-gauge railroad, or an incredible selection of really great downtown restaurants? And thats just for starters.
So many local people and organizations put in hundreds of hours to bring us international films, top-name concert entertainment, historical and cultural festivals, western style rodeos and events, culinary competitions and theater and melodrama performances.
So our sincere gratitude goes out to all locals and visitors who support our downtown economy, attend our events, visit our arts and recreational facilities, shop in our stores and dine in our restaurants.
We appreciate your support. And lets not forget to thank ourselves, our people and organizations that make all this possible. Believe me, little towns of 16,000 people just dont have what we have.
firstname.lastname@example.org Bob Kunkel is the downtown business development manager for the city of for Durango and executive director of the Business Improvement District.