While waiting for the new levels of cash flow from a newly approved lodgers tax increase, I would suggest the city divert some of that expected revenue for environmental cleanup today.
Specifically, as the Oxbow River Park has become increasingly popular, we are seeing a familiar problem emerge: tagging and littering, from discarded masks to plastic water bottles, fast-food wrappers and plastic bags of dog poop. The city can play a role in ending this problem with the placement of large trash cans along the Animas River Trail as well as the new Oxbow trail and park.
And then, there are the taggers — probably bored teens — especially those who so irresponsibly defaced Baker's Bridge, resulting in the closure of public access to trails on private property down to the river's edge below the bridge.
When I moved to Durango in 2008, I was impressed by Durango pride in the environment. Littering seemed very rare. Can we presume the latest desecration of our public and private spaces in the city and county has come at the hands of newcomers from out of state? You'd think their mothers are standing by to clean up after them.
Thus, along with well-placed trash cans at the parks and along the city trails, use some of that new revenue to erase those "tags." And this request may be a stretch, but there are a few dump sites of auto junk along the shoreline of the Animas River just north of the Oxbow Park. This rusting metal can send corrosive metal particles downriver, which can poison the fish while endangering the health of swimmers and rafters.
Last request: Replace the public restroom at Santa Rita Park that was removed by the new water treatment plant project.
Now, the increase in the lodgers' tax was described as a source of tourism marketing revenue. However, let's spend some of that expected revenue up front for the good of our environment and the city's image. It is a finite benefit.