Letter: Neighbor tensions
The Yampa Valley is a beautiful paradise. I grew up in Craig, about 45 minutes west of the ’Boat. A lot of the economy in my town has been based on coal mining. It is no secret that the mines will close down in several years. It is also no secret that Steamboat Springs has a housing issue that is pushing out everyone who can’t afford a multimillion-dollar home they live in only part of the year.
But there is a secret no one is willing to openly admit: There is tension between Craig and Steamboat. In Steamboat, there is the sentiment that its population is of higher caliber than that of Craig, even though much of the ’Boat is not “native” — it is made up of transplants from the Midwest, California and other parts of Colorado, like Denver and Boulder. This tension must be resolved now, as the successful future of both towns depends on strong relationships between the two.
Craig has a tight community of long-time folks who are connected to the history and land, and Steamboat is home to recreational adventures that awaken the soul. We know a lot of the workforce in the ’Boat comes from Craig; I would say most of the labor, if I had to guess. Hotel housekeepers, front desk agents, maintenance crews, restaurant cooks, servers and other staff members live in my hometown. We help form the backbone of Steamboat’s economy. Without Craig and the other neighboring towns, the ’Boat would sink.
As a concerned resident, I call on Steamboat’s leaders of committees, the Chamber and city organizations to reach out to your neighbors without hesitation. You will need us for affordable housing projects for your staff, so you can keep your businesses running. Some people have already moved to Craig. They have bought homes; some have completely taken over apartment complexes.
This is just the beginning of a big change. Let’s work together, because we need each other.
Concerned for the future,
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