C.S. Buckland: Public vote on 700
April 12, 2009
Steamboat Springs — While the Steamboat 700 project (and the 360 project) likely would increase the city’s tax bases to help alleviate the city’s budget concerns, I think it would detract from the quality of life for most city, and especially county, residents for two primary reasons: significant traffic increases, which at times have been of concern to the city and all who must use Lincoln Avenue, and significant water usage increases, in the drought cycles that almost are a surety for this area.
Increased water usage could cause depleted aquifers, further leading to the concerns of water-use rationing and the failure or drying up of wells. County residents depend on wells for household uses and ranch and animal uses – depleting the supply could lead residents to put in new wells, which is expensive and not always successful.
I realize the city actively is looking for increased funding for needs and projects. But if ranchers, hay farmers and long-term residents leave their places because of decreased quality of life and other livelihood concerns, the historical character and actuality of the community will be forever, irretrievably, lost.
Are the interests, concerns and well-being of the families and individuals who built this community and regional areas ever taken seriously into consideration? I often wonder should these long-term residents be consulted, just how many of these “projects” and that which is purchased or supported by the gained tax base would be thought worthwhile by those who, along with their ancestors, established this community.
Because other communities sometimes are cited as prerequisites as inducement for some project or activity to be approved for this community, it should be considered that this community is not the same, nor do the long-term residents with lifelong investment in this community/county necessarily want to be like Vail, Aspen or Minturn, or other sites. Do not the ads for tourism and its marketing imply that Steamboat Springs is a unique ranching community?
Will the beauty and richness of valleys and meadows green with hay and grass turning ripe as the season progresses, and the warm pleasure of seeing this hay and grass be turned into bales to feed animals over the winter forever be lost? Will the free-flowing rivers and streams be impeded, dirty or sluggish for lack of clean, clear water? Will it all eventually be lost to one project, then another, and another? That would be to lose a treasure that cannot be bought by any amount of funding.
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An action with such impact on the community, both city and county, should be considered and voted on by all.
A vote by all may not change anything already in the making, but it can show opinion and express concern about what is happening and what seems surely to affect our life and future.