Strategies to Provide for a Strong, Stable, Diverse and Balanced Economy
Green Resort/ Eco-Tourism: promote these goals in addition to our outdoor recreation, wildlife, scenic resources and accessibility to public lands. This is now and will continue to be a good fit for our local economy.
In addition, I believe the more established, older style “see America by car” type of tourism (which first brought my family to this valley) is going to once again become stronger than the “jet set” high end tourism we’ve seen in more recent years. We should upgrade our visitor amenities and the gateways to town and encourage visitors passing through to stop, park, and experience the downtown on foot or bicycle. More efforts such as those already suggested: closing the town square to cars & the public art task force initiatives, should be made.
The high end tourism & second home industry will continue as the market dictates. Teton County remains one of the most spectacular unspoiled settings in the continental US, with access to unparalleled skiing, fishing, etc. and the current tax benefits to homeownership provide all the additional incentive we need. We don’t need to do anything else to encourage this sector of our economy, it takes care of itself. We also have plenty of golf.
Leadership in Green Collar/Alternative Energy industries: As I stated last week, we are uniquely positioned because of our natural environmental bounty and our proximity to major centers of multiple extractive energy industries, to become a national counterpoint to those industries in the specific area of alternative energy research. Clearly, this is an industry which will grow and develop over the next decades, and this industry might very well find the juxtaposition between the pristine natural environment in our backyard and the oilfield development of neighboring counties serves their purpose as far as marketing alternative energy sources. Whether you believe global warming is the biggest threat to our planet or think it’s a complete fabrication doesn’t matter. We should still market ourselves to this sector of our national economy because of the way it can help our local economy. What can we Land Planners do to accomplish this? Designate an area in our Future Land Use Plan to accommodate an Alternative Energy Research Campus, where things like wind turbines and photovoltaic arrays can be installed. Not for mass production of electricity, for research in how to make these technologies more efficient. We can also include language in our Comprehensive plan about our desire to provide appropriate underground transmission utilities to accommodate these technologies.
Acknowledge the important contribution of our significant immigrant workforce to our economy. Just as America itself has grown and thrived because of the hard work of immigrants from all over the world, so has Teton County. We need to formally recognize this contribution, and include language in our Comprehensive Plan which assures that the needs of our immigrant population are adequately addressed, mostly through housing initiatives, recreation and educational facilities, and community events.