There's a New Girl in Town (Council, that is)

January 22, 2013

There's a New Girl in Town (Council, that is)

Q&A with Alicia Barr, Truckee's Newest Town Councilwoman

I wrote last week about the cool expansion Fifty Fifty Brewing Company has planned in the coming year. It’s here if you missed it. But Fifty Fifty co-owner Alicia Barr isn’t just focused on growing her own business, she’s got plans to expand our whole town’s economy.

When Alicia and husband Andy opened Fifty Fifty in 2007, they had a grand total of zero restaurant experience between the two of them. But they knew it was time to sell their house, trade in their stock options, and escape the Silicon Valley rat race. Like many of us, they sensed there was something special about Truckee, but they also knew that making a good living required starting their own business.

As a result, Alicia has a keen interest in supporting and strengthening Truckee’s business environment. While most of us are simply happy to debate how to do this over drinks at Bar of America, Alicia decided to do something about it. She went out and ran for Town Council. And won.

I asked Alicia a few questions about her plans for Town Council.

  1. What are you looking forward to most about being on Council?

Figuring out how to stimulate small business development.

  1. What inspired you to run for Council?

I have wanted to do it for a while. My family has a history of public service, and I recognized that in a small, tight-knit community like Truckee, public service makes a difference. I love this community and want to see its businesses thrive.

  1. What’s your position on growth and development in Truckee?

I believe in smart growth and development. The economy will eventually turn around, and we need to be prepared for what that brings. And we need to be cognizant of working within the Town’s general plan.

  1. What’s your view on the investment money coming into Northstar, Squaw, etc.? Do you see it as a good thing for our community?

I think it’s both good and bad. You can’t argue that Squaw isn’t better off than it was before [the KSL purchase] – it’s a friendlier, happier place now. A new, better culture has been created, proving investment money coming into our community can be good.

  1. How do you plan to support our community’s small businesses?

I believe the most important thing is economic diversification; as a community, we can’t continue to rely solely on construction and tourism. I would like to look into expanding higher education options to bring people, talent, and resources to the area during the shoulder seasons. A committee of key stakeholders should be created to evaluate options for expanding the presence of higher education in our community.

Additionally, we need to look at the “Clear Capital model” and focus on how to attract and retain similar businesses. There is potential to make the process of doing business in Truckee clearer, easier, and less expensive. I would like to look at restructuring Town fees in a way that they support new and existing businesses.

  1. I have a gut feeling that Truckee is about to experience a significant period of growth…do you sense the same thing?

I would agree. Companies like Vail and KSL have proven they are in it for the long haul, and their investment will encourage other investment.