How is Eagle County growing? Survey aims to find that information
Survey covers six mountain resort counties in Colorado
The last nine months or so have seen record-breaking real estate sales throughout much of northwestern Colorado. A new survey aims to see how those homes are being used.
The council of governments has five member counties: Eagle, Pitkin, Summit, Grand and Jackson. The survey covers Eagle, Grand, Pitkin, Routt, San Miguel and Summit counties.
Northwest Colorado Council of Governments Director Jon Stavney said the idea for the survey started anecdotally, particularly in how busy local grocery stores have been. But, he added, “Nobody could really say for sure” just where all those people were coming from.
The idea, he said, is helping local governments and nonprofit groups with their planning. Does the influx of people require different services?
“This is a thing,” Stavney said. “We’re reading national stories about cities emptied out, about people relocating, ‘Zoom towns’ and remote work. We talked about what could we do to get a little bit of a handle on this.”
The problem is that surveys are expensive. After some discussion, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs provided a $40,000 grant. Wendy Sullivan of WSW Consulting was hired, and the survey was created.
Survey questions include whether participants are full- or part-time residents, whether participants own or rent their homes and how long people have lived either part-time or full-time in their mountain residences.
One of the questions is how many months in 2020 participants spent in their mountain homes and how much time they expect to spend in those homes this year and into the future.
Stavney said the survey could reveal whether people moving to the mountains is a short-term phenomenon or if the current influx has accelerated the growth curve in mountain resort counties.
Vail Town Manager Scott Robson said he expects the survey to be useful in coming months and years.
“It’s got the chance of being a new, critical piece of information in our decision making moving forward,” Robson said. That information is likely to include data on the impacts on current housing, child care, transit and managing recreation, from trailheads to parks.
“I’m thrilled a survey like this is taking place,” Robson said.
Results are expected to be released in late May or early June.
To learn more, go to the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments’ web page.