The biggest of block parties
First 'Dorothy Gathering' aims to bring community together
More than most, Noreen Moore has a finger on the pulse of Routt County. When she realized recently that she had concerns about that pulse, she made a creative decision — throw a big party and invite everyone.
The first “Dorothy Gathering” is Sunday afternoon, at the Manitou Avenue home Moore shares with Jody Anagnos, special events director for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. Moore is business resource director for the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative.
She said Sunday’s event is in honor of longtime Steamboat Springs resident Dorothy Wither, who owned the Dorothy Shop, an iconic women’s clothing store on Lincoln Avenue. The store closed down years ago, Moore said, but she hopes to rekindle the memory and spirit of Wither.
“Dorothy was known for her way of welcoming people to the community,” Moore, 61, said Friday. “She was a wonderful person who connected people — we need more of that.”
For her job, Moore studies who is moving into and out of the county and why. She examines statistics such as age, income level, profession and family size. A Routt County resident since 1970, Moore said she is noticing a change: More people who move to Routt County are not joining the local work force.
Many people move here after attaining wealth, Moore said, or they move here and work from home. In fall 2005, she began a study that found Routt County has a sharply rising number of “telecommuters,” or people who live here while working via computer for businesses located elsewhere.
The study found that about 700 local households, nearly 10 percent of households in Routt County, are involved in telecommuting in some capacity.
“We have a lot of people coming here now, who we don’t get to work with,” Moore said. “So how do we continue to make community?”
Simple. Open your doors, serve refreshments, ask for potluck dishes and see what happens.
“It’s really about people getting to know each other,” Moore said. “It’s kind of a huge, neighborhood party for anybody.”
Moore said she has no idea how many people might turn up Sunday.
“If it gets too big, people can just come and talk for a few minutes,” she said. “I’d love to see other neighborhoods create things like this. As (Routt County’s population) gets bigger, we don’t want to lose what makes people want to come here.
“We should all be making banana bread and knocking on our neighbors’ doors.”
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Steamboat Springs has produced nearly 100 winter Olympians, more than any other town in North America. That fact is everywhere, plastered on websites and informational boards across town.