|Twenty-seventeen is now but a memory, and we now face a new year and new opportunities. For Custer County, our crystal ball tells us, 2018 promises to be a memorable one. Here are some predictions:
With recent growth in real estate sales and home construction, the county may experience a population surge similar to 1990 when the U.S. Census Bureau pegged us as one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, percentage wise, with a population increase of some 80 percent from 1980. While the 2018 numbers may not reach that level, an increasing population will likely put a strain on local infrastructure, but should also positively impact local tax revenues, spending at local businesses, and community volunteerism and involvement. With thousands of buildable lots still available in our county, we don’t anticipate any moves for new subdivisions, a situation which would possibly create some political upheavals.
The current issue creating controversy is the move by the local Dark Skies organization to tweak existing zoning regulations in order to qualify for an International Dark Sky designation. Though the move is generally supported, there are some hold-outs who flail the property-rights argument. Still, we believe a satisfactory compromise will be achieved. (It’s curious to see a very similar scenario playing out in a rural and conservative Idaho ranching community, where there’s near overwhelming support due to the economic opportunities a Dark Sky designation would bring.)
With the passage of the school bond issue which will leverage a substantial state grant, the C-1 School District will get its infrastructure up to speed, resulting in long-term cost savings. Additionally, the school will be prepared for any uptick in enrollment which could be forthcoming.
Our key tourism industry will likely flourish in 2018, as the urban Front Range communities continue to grow as folks continue to seek the real Colorado.
Virtually everyone in the county is pleased that the divisiveness that reared its ugly head in 2017 is behind us. We predict that residents and elected officials will be more prone to compromise and returning to our live-and-let-live lifestyle. We’re ready.