Letter: How to preserve the ‘small town’ of Glenwood
The city of Glenwood Springs spent taxpayer money to create a Comprehensive Plan. The plan states that the city would like to preserve the “small-town” character of Glenwood — while at the same time, promote and encourage growth. Below is a quote from the plan:
“The key objective is to allow, even encourage, growth but to manage it to preserve essential characteristics, maximize its positive impacts, and minimize its negative impacts.”
Two questions come to mind: 1) Who here in Glenwood — other than the city leaders — thinks that growth in Glenwood will preserve small-town character, and 2) What positive impacts arise from growth?
Here are my answers: 1) Nobody I know, and 2) There are no positive impacts that arise from growth, unless you perceive more traffic, congestion, crime and frustration to be positive impacts.
The only way to preserve small-town character is to remain small. It’s not a difficult concept. You cannot be small and continue to grow… it’s physically impossible. So if the city leaders want to preserve small-town values and experiences, they need to get out of the growth business. Period. If it would make the city leaders feel any better about adopting this magical concept, I suggest they pretend it was derived by a rocket scientist. Maybe then it would sink in.
Let’s assume Glenwood does remain small. What is the worst that could happen? My guess is that property values increase. But that’s expected when people want to live in fantastic place — like the fantastic small town of Glenwood.
Note to self: “fantastic” has a price. Houston and Wichita — in my opinion — are not fantastic, and the housing prices reflect this evaluation. Want a cheap house? There are plenty of locations across this nation — like Houston or Wichita, for example. Want a cheap house in a fantastic location? They don’t exist. Go figure.
So if Glenwood remains small, the location remains fantastic, and the kicker is — the city leaders make more money (their real true reason for wanting growth). They acquire more money off of higher real estate prices — and without spending a dime on new infrastructure, fire or police. Yes, some people won’t be able to live here — but that is already the case for any “fantastic” place to live such as Aspen or Malibu.
If you haven’t noticed yet, all towns downstream from Aspen have had their real estate prices balloon beyond the affordable. Basalt and Carbondale are far pricier than Glenwood, and the prices just keep going higher.
But guess which town is next in line for higher real estate prices? Hint: it’s downstream from Carbondale. That is … unless the city leaders grow this town right out of its small character. Then we all might as well live on the Front Range or similar, and kiss this small town of Glenwood Springs goodbye.
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