I grew up in Alamosa. Like many of my schoolmates, I left as an adult to pursue career opportunities elsewhere, since the economy in Alamosa and the rest of the San Luis Valley was poor. I still have family and friends in the area, however, and I visit on a regular basis, often paying to stay in a hotel and enjoying meals in various local restaurants.
The economy in Alamosa is still poor, but one of my schoolmates, Dan Russell, has been trying to do something about it by purchasing the Polston property and turning it into an attractive RV resort. I have been reading articles in the Courier about Dan’s efforts, as well as letters to the editor disparaging Dan’s motives and his integrity.
Anyone who knows Dan Russell and his wife Carol well can attest to the quality of their character and their sincere desire to help boost the economy in the area. When I asked Dan how much of an impact the RV resort would have on the local economy, he responded, “The positive economic impact to the Alamosa community has been estimated by the RV Resort design professional we have retained for this project at $3.8 million a year. The boost would give our area a much-needed economic stimulus.”
That is not money in Dan’s pocket. It is money that could flow into the community through an increase in tourism. This is a stellar example of private business working to create jobs, which are sorely needed in the San Luis Valley.
Like many others, I believe the School Board acted in the best financial interests of the School District and the community as a whole. While the proponents of the Healthy Living Park sent a “Letter of Intent” in May 2012, proposing a “four-month negotiation period,” there never was a written offer to buy the property. In fact, the Letter of Intent states: “This Letter of Intent is not a real estate contract or option, and does not bind either party.”
I encourage the City Council to work with Dan Russell to get this project going.
Susan Blickhahn Caragol