Can railroads deliverto resorts?
GRANBY – By train, it’s about two hours from Denver to Granby and Winter Park, one of Colorado’s newest boom areas for vacation homes. And when Interstate 70 gets congested, it can take even longer to drive the highway.Now there’s a new effort afoot by land developers in Granby, whose major market is people in metropolitan Denver, to promote use of the train. Jerry Jones, a former ski industry executive who worked variously at Sun Valley, Keystone, and Snowmass, is now developing vacation homes at Granby. Improved use of the railroad is an obvious but underutilized asset, he says. Jones believes the day is rapidly approaching when the critical mass will exist to warrant special trains from Denver, just as many resort areas now subsidize plane flights from distant cities.Amtrak currently services the area, but its schedule is erratic. A ski train runs seasonally to Winter Park, and this year will run four days per week.However, other developers and ski area promoters for decades have tried to take advantage of the tracks to Denver, but with no success. Railroads are busy with freight trains, and would rather not be bothered with people. And people, says Winter Park Resort spokeswoman Joan Christiansen, for the most part don’t find I-70 all that bad, yet.More second homes, fewer jurorsTAHOE CITY, Calif. – As housing prices rise and more units are converted into vacation homes in the North Tahoe area, courtroom workers report the pool of residents eligible for jury duty has shrunk by 20 percent during the last two years.Tahoe City courtroom clerk Kim Hunter says the situation isn’t a crisis, as most criminal cases are settled out of court or a plea is entered. However, with younger lower-income families leaving the area, the remaining older, more affluent residents also mean more conservative juries, notes the Tahoe World.”Statistically, established older folks with a lot of money are more likely to favor the prosecution than the defendant,” said Jim Porter of Porter/Simon law firm in Truckee. “In criminal cases, this works to the benefit of the prosecutor.”Vail, Colorado