Deborah Gibson

Co-founder, co-owner and general manager of the Rams Horn Village Resort and Chair of the Visit Estes Park Board of Directors

Deborah Gibson

"Estes Park is now on the path of many other resort destinations which have become too expensive for working families to afford. Already we have seen an exodus of working families and professionals who can no longer afford housing here. Added to this, available child care represents only a small fraction of the need for working parents who staff our local businesses, health care, public services and other critical services.

Our town has an ever growing number of our workforce commuting from surrounding communities. Even if this was sustainable, it will become far more expensive to recruit necessary workers this way. The lifestyle costs to those families are likely too high for them to sustain long commutes for long. Labor costs are becoming prohibitive for local businesses to maintain services and remain open regular hours. This is for business that is already here. The lack of an available and affordable workforce deters new business and services in the community. The lack of available and affordable housing and childcare prevents new workers from moving into the community and we are losing more and more of our current workers daily.

As we have more and more commuters serving the community's needs in the healthcare, public services and education sectors, we lose our historical sense of community, where the mature nurture the young and the young care for and provide services to their elders. The bond of community in Estes Park has seen us through over one hundred years of life's challenges and  blessings including wildfires, floods and pandemics. So much would be lost if we as a community do not step in to retain our workforce by addressing the now severe housing and childcare needs of these working families.

Through the state legislature, we have been offered the opportunity to reverse or curtail this destructive direction by raising funding for affordable housing and childcare through visitor lodging taxes (HB22-1117). This allows us to generate funds needed to address critical needs from the very tourism industry that generates much of the demand for a sustainable workforce.  With exploding costs and extremely limited private real estate available, this opportunity could not be more timely, for a need so urgent. As a community, I hope that we can act now to use this once in a lifetime opportunity to preserve our community's workforce."

Pledge to vote in the November 2022 election to demonstrate your commitment to the workforce in Estes Park.