The housing market in the Pikes Peak region is expected to improve this year, as prices rise and foreclosures dwindle. But the recovery, particularly for home construction, will be “slow, slow, slow,” says economist Fred Crowley of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (via the Gazette). “I like to call it ‘ice-melting-in-January slow.'”

In the meantime, Snowmass real estate developer Dwayne Romero has been tapped to help the state economy thaw out. On Wednesday, Governor John Hickenlooper appointed Romero the executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (via the Denver Post). The 45-year-old is president of Related Snomass, part of a New York-based development and investment firm, and a member of the Aspen City Council. Romero must help Hickenlooper craft and implement “a comprehensive, statewide economic-development plan.”

“Dwayne Romero knows how to create jobs and lead organizations,” Hickenlooper states in a news release (via the Denver Business Journal). “He helped stabilize and build successful businesses in the Colorado mountains, most recently in Snowmass Village. Dwayne has the necessary leadership training and business management experiences to promote economic development in Colorado and beyond its borders.” Ideally that will include Denver, which faces a budget deficit of $100 million for 2012, making the upcoming budget “one of the most challenging the city has ever felt,” says Claude Pumilia, Denver’s chief financial officer (also via the Denver Post).