PI Editorial: Time for our leaders to renew critical conversations around growth pressures
As we venture further away from the pandemic’s beginning, our thoughts turn back to the challenges our community faced before anyone knew what COVID-19 was.
With tourism ramping back up and businesses seeking more workers, the perpetual tug of war between growing our community and keeping our community the way it is looms large.
No matter how we feel as individuals, there are no easy answers. Unfettered development would lead to our feeling like sardines in a very cramped Roaring Fork Valley. Locking up development — which has already happened to some degree — means a long commute for many of our hospitality and tourism workers, and professionals in other sectors, as well, who have for years helped spur economic growth in our communities.
Because the solution lies somewhere between these two extremes we won’t find the best answer without seeking consensus locally and regionally.
After all, this is a reality that started decades ago in Aspen… then trickled down to mid-valley, then Glenwood Springs, then New Castle, then Silt, then Rifle, then Parachute, then Dotsero, then — well, you get the point.
The problem is too deeply rooted, too far-reaching to be solved by one community working alone. Before we get together with our neighboring communities, we should first come together here in Garfield County, especially the Glenwood Springs City Council and Garfield County Commission.
Our city councilors and county commissioners haven’t met for a joint meeting since September 2019. While the pandemic has made everything more difficult, we can’t help but note that the Rifle City Council and the Garfield County commissioners were still able to host a joint meeting in January 2021.
That Glenwood councilors and our county commissioners haven’t been able to do the same rings hollow.
We appreciate the different political perspectives of council and commission, but those differences shouldn’t come at the expense of community. They need to rectify this and come together to work in tandem on the challenges facing our community.
If they can’t do this, we would then ask the respective staffs of the city and county to address the issue and develop specific recommendations. Not acting is not an option. Our community deserves better.
The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Amy Connerton and Karl Oelke.
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