Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Ka-Ching!

Tourism boosters kick off the summer season at a rally today at the State Capitol. And what a season it should be: Come July 1, the state's annual tourism budget will increase from $5 million to $20 million (pending final legislative approval). But at the same time those boosters tout the $3.4 billion spent in Colorado by "heritage tourists" -- a new emphasis here -- they might want to update the state's heritage tourism information for the new millennium.

At least www.Colorado.com, the state's official web site, has updated its page on Black Hawk, removing the photograph of the "Lace House Museum" — a historic structure that has been shuttered for over a decade, and soon will be ignominiously moved from its home of almost 150 years to another site — that was there last month ("A House Divided," April 13). Now the picture on that page is of the Black Hawk and Central City Tramway, a high-falutin' name for the bus that shuttles gamblers. But under "History & Heritage," the only listing is for the Riviera Casino — a six-year-old gaming emporium with little history, although it's probably done its bit to help shake $3.4 billion from those "heritage tourists." And for more information about Black Hawk, the site suggests contacting not Black Hawk's town hall, but Central City — its longtime rival a mile up the hill. Considering that all of the state's new tourism money will be coming from gaming revenues, and that Black Hawk collects two-thirds of the cash dumped at this state's casinos, you'd think the town might get slightly better treatment.

And the rest is history. -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun