LETTER: Don’t Fence Us Out, GGP

If you were downtown last Saturday morning for the Colorfest Balloon Ascension, you saw a mix of tourists and locals on hills and balconies and sidewalks and on the River Walk and the fields surrounding the Springs Resort. All were in a festive mood while enjoying the balloons. I don’t recall seeing so many people downtown on a fall morning.

And if you were downtown for the Balloon Ascension, and walked along the River Walk through Centennial Park, you also witnessed the private party thrown by Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership, “Breakfast with Balloons”.

The GGP fenced off an entire swath of Centennial Park from the river to the parking lot. They included the River Walk and the public restroom inside their fencing.

The GGP was unapologetic that their fence forced the common folks – residents and tourists and children and strollers and dogs – into the parking lot that was crammed with parked vehicles, vehicles backing out of parking spaces, and vehicles driving through the crammed lot. Families were forced into the dangerous situation of playing dodge-the-truck… while the GGP sipped their mimosas, safe behind their fence.

I overheard a woman ask someone behind the fence if she could use the public restroom. She was told that she could… but she could also use the restroom down the way, at the Riverpointe Restaurant.

It’s unfortunate that — after the Town gave the GGP a ground lease that included so much of a park that used to belong to us, and then used public funds to pay for improvements to the park — that the GGP would, during one of the most popular events in Pagosa, force all others out of the park and into the dangerous parking lot, and use their fence to claim the public restroom as their own.

Don’t we all have the right to use the River Walk… and the public restroom in the park?

The Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership apparently does not care how their actions affect others in the park, so I hope the Town will intervene in this situation. The GGP “Breakfast” event reflects poorly on the GGP — and also, on the Town that allowed them to segregate themselves and put others in danger and discomfort on an otherwise wonderful morning for downtown Pagosa Springs.

In the case of the GGP, good fences do not make good neighbors.

Cynda Green
Pagosa Springs, CO

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