Our View: Thank you, anonymous benefactor
Philanthropy, by definition, is “goodwill to fellow members of the human race” or “an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes.” In practice, philanthropy focuses on the elimination of social problems and often involves giving money to support projects that benefit an entire community.
Philanthropists are givers. They share their wealth and good fortune to help others. Some give and wish to be recognized. Others give and choose to remain nameless as was the case recently with an anonymous benefactor who donated $23 million or more to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority to purchase 536 acres west of Steamboat Springs, which is currently owned by Steamboat 700. The gift of this land will be used to build valuable housing for locals and help combat Steamboat’s growing housing crisis.
This gift offers hope to those who work here but struggle to find attainable housing — our service workers, firefighters, teachers, nurses and others who want to work and live here. This type of philanthropic investment to help solve an issue that is crippling our community is simply incredible, almost miraculous, and on behalf of the community, we thank the donor for their generosity, and we admire the fact the gift was made without the need for recognition.
We think this benefactor was extremely wise in giving the money to the housing authority, which has a proven track record of delivering on its promise of providing the community with affordable housing. Since voters approved a 1-mill levy to support YVHA, the nonprofit has built one housing project per year. The Sunlight Crossings project is on schedule for completion this year, and ground will soon be broken on another project on Anglers Drive.
What will be built on the Steamboat 700 property is still unknown, but housing authority leaders have said the parcel will be master planned, and we have no doubt they’ll get the job done. They are leading the charge when it comes to housing, and we appreciate their dedication to finding creative solutions and building strong private-public partnerships to execute their mission.
As planning begins on this property, we’d ask city leaders and others to find ways to expedite the annexation process and work with the housing authority to ensure roadblocks to developing the land are removed. City leaders need to prove they’re committed to solving the housing crisis, and now is the time to demonstrate their resolve. There’s been talk about easing some of the restrictions that hamper local development, but we’re ready to see some action toward that end.
And for those who might be planning to fight the annexation of this property, we’d ask you to step back and reconsider. The housing crisis is real, and there is no room for “not in my backyard,” or NIMBY, thinking. The character of Steamboat is changing, and the gift of this land for attainable, locals housing is key to our community’s future. Don’t waste time and money by fighting its development.
For the most part, the city has already gone down this road with Brynn Grey Partners, so the arguments have already been discussed repeatedly. Housing has to be a top priority, and it’s time for us to work together as a community to find solutions rather than contribute to the problem by fighting inevitable growth.
At issue: The Yampa Valley Housing Authority has authorized a purchase offer on 536 acres in West Steamboat Springs thanks to a $23 million donation from an anonymous benefactor.
Our View: This gift was extremely generous, and now it’s up to local leaders and residents to join forces and ensure the planning process for the development project goes smoothly and quickly.
• Logan Molen, publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Marion Kahn, community representative
• Laraine Martin, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com.
And while the vast majority of us can’t afford to donate millions of dollars to help solve a social problem, we are capable of giving unselfishly where we can — of our time and talents and expertise and energy — to make Steamboat a better place to live, work and play.
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