The recent editorial on homeless people misses the point.
It does not particularly matter where the homeless came from. What matters is that we, the residents of Durango, are more focused on helping homeless people than we are on helping the middle-class residents of Durango who contribute to the regional economy and make the city a vibrant place of life.
Durango is on a fast track to becoming the next Telluride, a playground for wealthy out-of-state people and tourists. Where does the middle class that actually works the jobs in Telluride live? Not in Telluride.
This is already happening in Durango and will only accelerate unless something radical is done. Half measures like the La Plata HomesFund only scratch the surface of the problem and are not a solution.
Take, for example, Ewing Mesa (or, I’m sorry, “Durango Mesa”), an incredible wasted opportunity. Thousands of acres of already-disturbed, already-cleared land could have become affordable, single-family homes on generous 1-acre lots. A simple residency and income requirement test and deed restrictions could have prevented speculation and sale to wealthy nonresidents.
Instead, we got another bike park. More hiking trails. As if we currently are not awash in hiking and biking opportunities on both city-owned lands and the uncountable acres of federal lands surrounding Durango.
Durango Mesa is cake in a time when the people are calling out for bread.