Economic downturn hits Idaho Springs

A sign of the times.

Just a week after visiting The Outlets at Castle Rock and being distressed by the sky-high vacancy rate there, I discovered a similar situation in Idaho Springs, a community I've enjoyed visiting for years. On September 6, Miner Street, the heart of the old downtown, was hardly bustling, and a surprising number of storefronts along the main drag were unoccupied -- including Skipper's Ice Cream Parlor, a staple of the community that was always packed whenever I dropped by. As you can see by the image here, the folks behind Skipper's have decamped for Grand Junction, one of the few cities in the state that's doing well, thanks mainly to the explosion of oil shale and natural gas exploration taking place nearby. Sounds like a campaign slogan John McCain might be able to use: "Drill Now, or No More Ice Cream." -- Michael Roberts

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts