Letter: Make your vote for City Council count
Steamboat Springs has been my home for 30 years. I leave for months at a time for work, and it is always a joy to come home.
Last June, I came home and couldn’t help but feel there was a change in the air, which wasn’t just the wildfire smoke. For the first time, I found Steamboat had undergone a change. Change is inevitable, but I have some existential concerns.
The influx of new homeowners caused by the pandemic and the ability for more people to work remotely has created an economic shift. As of September 2021, prices of homes in Steamboat had increased 47% from 2020, causing a massive increase in rental costs. In one year, service industry employees and seasonal workers can barely survive for a season, let alone a lifetime. Up until now, restaurant workers, teachers and government workers have been the backbone and breath of the town, and for me, it’s those people that make Steamboat unique.
Many other towns have a ski mountain, a beautiful river and miles of trails, but Steamboat has so far survived without becoming a “bedroom community.” There is something special here when the person refilling your coffee shares your same smile from a morning ride or powder run. Somehow you know that they are like you, someone who moved here to live, work and play in a place they found magical.
But these are the same people who can no longer afford to stay; they missed the “window.” And as they move on, it cripples local businesses that are low-staffed and burned out. This shift changes everything — the interactions, the quality of service and the very heart and soul of the town.
To be a local means different things to different people, but I argue that a town isn’t built on tax revenues; it’s built by the people where handshakes, open doors and true neighbors make the difference, and I fear we are at risk of losing those. I encourage everyone to think about the vision you have for Steamboat and make your vote for our next City Council count.
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