GMF business owners speak out

GMF business owners spea4-28gmf mayor worthy webk out

Rick Langenberg

Let Green Mountain Falls bustle as a booming tourist-friendly community with a great lake attraction better infrastructure and signs, closer parking to trail routes, a central lodging system and more events.

And when it comes to the ongoing controversy over geese feeding, let the current tradition continue. Also, don’t throw any roadblocks against plans for a new whiskey distillery that may use donkeys as an added attraction.

These are some of the views echoed by a group of business operators and owners during the first ever business roundtable, hosted by GMF Mayor Lorrie Worthey, last week at town hall. The group plans to meet regularly during the third Friday of every month at 2 p.m. to develop more concrete ideas and possibly an action plan.

The business operators weren’t shy about expressing their concerns over gaps that currently exist and ways the town could help boost commerce. They also got a quick history lesson in the heritage of Green Mountain Falls, first incorporated in 1890.

In its heyday, GMF featured three grocery stores and a spree of businesses, sported boating races and baseball games and hosted regular concerts and dances.

Few believe the town could rekindle its former reputation as a resort mecca, but the mayor has cited a desire for the current administration to work closer with the business community. Some speakers complained that an ‘us versus them’ mentality that existed between certain operators and previous elected leaders.

For the most part, the business owners cited the lake as a key attraction that needs to be enhanced. “We (the town of Green Mountain Falls) could be rich,” said Ben Stephens, the owner of The Pantry restaurant, when describing the prospects of possibly installing a slide attraction for sledding and other festivities. He noted that the town is losing a golden opportunity in not promoting the lake’s assets for outdoor ice skating and winter activities. He said this is one of the few outdoor lake areas in the entire Pikes Peak region available for ice skating.

But for the summer, the main consensus was to stock the lake with more fish and to try to encourage more weddings. “It is a good image,” said Jesse Stroope, a representative of the Historic Green Mountain Falls Foundation and the Green Box Arts Festival, when describing the importance of having more weddings at the Gazebo.