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Taxing My Memory

Having been born and raised in the southern end of Chaffee County, I sometimes reminisce on the changes and in some cases the lack of changes that have occurred over the last half century in my home town.The mid to late 50’s was a booming time. Climax mine was in full swing, the D&RG railroad had freight trains running and a passenger train to Denver and to Salt Lake. The Frying Pan Arkansas water project had an office with engineers and all the support staff.The forest service, the Colo Division of Wildlife and the telephone company also had full staff offices located in Salida. Real-estate was moderately priced and life was full of activity centered around a great school system. This continued to be the case clear up into the mid 70’S.

Then recession hit. Climax closed down, the railroad stopped using the line full time and shut down the passenger service completely. The Frying Pan Arkansas project lost funding from the Federal Gov. The school enrollment declined and most of the good paying jobs were gone. Homes could be purchased for as little as $10,000.00 or less.

But Salida survived and grabbed it’s boot straps and began to draw tourists at an ever increasing rate. Once productive farm ground became more valuable for homes for retirees and 2nd home buyers. Mountain properties were more and more attractive to people form other states and Colorado’s own metro areas.Things were good again, not at the job pay level of the 50’s and 60’s, but livable.

Now here we are back in a recession. Surprise–Surprise. But the good news is it, at least in Chaffee County, is nowhere close to what happened in the 70’s. Sales tax revenues are off less than 1% for Nov. 2008 & Dec. 2008 compared to 2007. Maybe things will get worse but maybe not. They will be worse if we loose a positive attitude and let doom and gloom rule our actions .

Remember all things are relative to what we have become accustom.



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