I don’t have many answers, but I do have lots of questions. Jackson’s sustainable and artistic efforts should fuse. But how? What models are out there in the world that we can study, even emulate?
Jackson’s future, in many ways, depends on the questions we ask. We should be asking more “baby step” questions and the larger ideals will naturally evolve. Just the other day, the Grand Teton Music Festival announced some news: Anonymous pledges (signaling that donors don’t wish to be placed on pedestals for their contributions) totaling $3.5 million will establish a Housing Fund that will support its participating artists and stabilize “the largest line item in the Festival’s budget.”
The money is out there. Affordable housing, one of our biggest crises, will be available where the Festival is, in Teton Village. Where the artists actually work. In theory, not a lot of additional traffic. Green.
If we’re not going to create better mass transit opportunities, we’d better put housing where workers work.
I did not attend Jackson’s recent Energy Summit. No doubt I missed a lot of cool interaction, scintillating discussion, theory, science, inspiring vision, good networking and even a photo op or two.
The questions that formed in my mind, that weren’t answered to my satisfaction prior to the Summit, are these:
What was its cost? Will Summit organizers offer up a financial report of this and any subsequent summits, as it is “for-profit” and not “non-profit?”
Who receives any fees the community pays out to the Summit? Why should the community contribute to it now, rather than to established initiatives? Perhaps it’s simply a choice, but am I the only one feeling stretched? And kind of guilty just for sometimes having to say “no?” In this economy, I’d love a time line for practical Summit results related to Jackson.
How big was this summit’s carbon footprint?
Are our new, empty buildings green? Are they going to be made green before or after they’re occupied? What is the plan to fill all these empty spaces? Is anyone considering reducing rents in exchange for tax credits, in order to attract new businesses that would provide good jobs?
Will we price out middle class families looking for memorable, but affordable experiences here? If we can’t offer lodging under $400 a night, “regular” people can’t visit. And if they don’t visit, they won’t know the valley, or feel any impetus to protect it. How can we move forward with being green and ensure keeping it “real?”
Many less sexy communities without real estate hyper-spikes haven’t crashed as hard as Jackson. How will we address that?
A tunnel running under Teton Pass would provide safer and faster commutes, run beneath habitat, and balance real estate values. On this side of the Pass, values would come down a bit. Over in Idaho, they’d go up a bit because Jackson Hole would be more accessible. We’d give the mountain back to wildlife. Mass transit would operate more efficiently. That road is treacherous. Avalanche emergencies and related deaths would be reduced.