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Monday, January 26, 2009

The Road to Recovery

I've mentioned many times that I grew up in one of Denver's suburbs in the 1950's. Life was much slower way back then. I don't have any access to old family photos of driving through the Colorado Rockies in the 1950's. The photo of the antique car isn't back in the 1950's. But it is illustrative of what our lives would be like if Interstate 70 had not been built.

During the summers of my youth my parents and I would drive up to the mountains to go fishing. We would either go over Berthoud Pass toward Grand Lake, Loveland Pass toward what is now Vail (Vail did not even exist then), or over Monarch Pass toward Gunnison. There were no interstate highways. There were very few four lane roads for that matter. There wasn't any need for four lanes because travel over the Rockies took so long, especially on a cold and snowy day. There was some skiing atop each of the passes mentioned and in small towns like Aspen (back then Aspen was just a small town without any big ambitions). So there was no compelling reason to get anywhere very quickly.

The interstate highway started to get built in Denver in the 1950's. But it would take more than four decades to complete the Interstate 25 and Interstate 70 and the loops that encircled Denver and the suburbs. But the major marvel was the construction of Interstate 70 through the Colorado Rockies. And I specifically refer to the construction of the Eisenhower Tunnel and later the elevated roadway through the Glenwood Canyon, one of Nature's Wonders.

When I was a kid and cars regularly overheated trying to cross the great Colorado passes, it would take hours and hours to get from Denver to any place on the other side (western side) of the Continental Divide. And like I said, there wasn't any particular place to go back then because we didn't have ski resorts and condominiums and golf courses in the mountains. Oops! Maybe the interstate highway wasn't' such a good thing after all.

What once took so much time now takes very little. The drive between Denver and the western slope now takes a little about three hours. And the life and vitality of the Colorado economy owes so much to that divided highway.

When I was going to law school in the early 1970's the construction of the Eisenhower Tunnel was in full bore so to speak. That construction project was massive and it created jobs throughout the Denver area and on the western slope as well. Two crews worked simultaneously to bore the holes that would one day unite the state like never before and that would make travel so easy. Nobody in the 1950's could have imagined owning a condo in Vail Colorado where they could ski in the winter and play golf in the summer. But that is just what happened. Little towns like Breckenridge, Silverthorne, and even Aspen experienced tremendous growth in terms of size and property appreciation. And I can tell you that the growth has been sustained over the past thirty years.

I am not afraid of public works projects to help jump start our failing economy. The TVA changed much of the South after the Depression. The Eisenhower Tunnel helped keep Denver from utter ruin during the Recession of the mid 1970's. Perhaps the Economic Stimulus Package that is working its way through Congress will create a project or two that can have as dramatic an effect on our economy and way of life. We won't know if the package gets derailed and money is spent instead on tax rebates.

I am not afraid of government spending to help create jobs. Jobs keep real people working. The dollars get passed around and around and around. When people work, they spend money. And when they spend money, that creates more opportunities for everyone.

You may or may not agree with me that money spent on public works may help pave the road to recovery for our country. If you do or if you don't, you can let your Senator or Congressman know your feelings just by sending a email. CLICK HERE to access the contact links for the US Senate. And CLICK HERE to contact your Representative. We are all in this mess together. Make your voice known no matter what you think.


Anonymous said...

The Captain says:

Too bad you (or your family) didn't buy property in Vail or Aspen back then. Even with today's economic meltdown, you would still be way ahead compared to GM stock(which shows you the value of real estate as a long term investment).

Captain out.....

Gary Thomas said...

Captain, I had an opportunity to buy a place in Aspen for about $70,000 in the early 1970s. I didn't do it. I'm still angry with myself.

During the mid to late 1980's I sold a bunch of bank owned high-end properties in both Vail and Aspen. Wish I would have had the money and insight to buy then. Everybody is afraid in a market downturn. That is except for the guys who make out like bandits and buy the good stuff real cheap.



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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.