Wednesday letters: Downtown vibrancy, growth, graduation sashes, Holy Cross board endorsement |

Wednesday letters: Downtown vibrancy, growth, graduation sashes, Holy Cross board endorsement

Here’s to a vibrant downtown Glenwood

The city sponsored workshop this past Wednesday on enhancing the “vibrancy ” of downtown was largely driven by the desire to enhance tourism.

Yes, tourism is key to our local economy.

But in pursuing a four-season tourism drive the city must give equal weight to supporting the city’s “vibrancy” to the residents of Glenwoods historic center.

Here’s some ways how:

• Trees and more trees!

Give downtown homeowners and rental properties financial and horticultural help in planting and nurturing our trees. Currently many of our trees are dying or barely hanging on.

• Residential parking permits to downtown area residents.

The current parking regs are unfair to downtown area residents. With the coming onslaught of summer RV and other tourist traffic, local residents will find it often impossible to park within a block of their homes.

Solution: The city to issue residential parking permit stickers for longterm residents of the downtown area.

Gerry VanderBeek, Glenwood Springs

Density over sprawl

As a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley, I share the interest of most citizens of Glenwood Springs in providing “affordable” housing while maintaining the quality of life in the city itself. I understand the potential negative impact of residential and commercial development on the environmental quality of the overall region, and also understand that the demand for this development is being driven by national population growth, inducing people to move to areas such as the Roaring Fork Valley that have not yet been entirely despoiled by it.

Based on both economic and environmental goals, the least-worst policy for Glenwood Springs and the other municipalities of the Valley is to accommodate fairly high-density development of land within existing urban boundaries. The site of the former Safeway store is a prime example.

People living near such sites will invariably point out that such development will increase traffic, impinge on their views, reduce habitat for certain species of wildlife, etc. But this ignores the reality and associated policy implications of continued population growth — that the additional people need to live and earn their livelihoods somewhere. If that opportunity is not provided in existing urbanized areas, it will occur in the form of sprawl into the remaining lands in agricultural production and natural conservation.

The rational, ethical implication for municipal government officials throughout the Valley is to implement policies that insure that new development will be sustainably safe, clean and environmentally benign — if not generally “luxurious.” To the extent that it reduces the quality of life of neighboring residents, there should be compensating provisions — such as common spaces for recreation and socializing, and improvements to multiple forms of transportation.

Those public officials who lack the intelligence and the courage to implement such policies with concern for the regional and national common good, along with that of their most vocal constituents, should do the honorable thing and resign.

Carl Ted Stude, Carbondale

Think, and talk, over growth

“Stop — in the name of love! Before you break my heart.” Just what I’m thinking when I see this valley build, build, build. “Think it over. Think it over.” (Supremes, of course.)

Does this valley really need thousands upon thousands more people? Everywhere you look there are new houses and new apartments. The prices to buy and to rent keep going up. People said there are not enough so we should build more, and the prices will come down. How’s that working out?

Why is this happening? Easy answer. This is a nice place to live. Beautiful surroundings. Lots to do. Clean air. Good schools. But hey. This is a narrow valley. The traffic gets worse by the day. Air quality is showing problems now and then. We are facing serious water shortages. Everything we need and use here has to be brought in by truck. Those supply lines are going to suffer from climate change problems. Like fires and rock slides. Local amenities like skiing and hiking are getting used much more. Reservations are a thing. Working people are having to move farther away. More commuting.

All the new living spaces increase the population. More people require more services. Services from day care to health care to a myriad of other basic needs must be expanded. Still more growth.

“I’ve tried so hard, hard to be patient. Hoping you’ll stop this infatuation.” Well, we all know what this song is getting to: communication. We really need to talk. Before too many of us get that broken heart.

Patrick Hunter, Carbondale

Dismayed by D16 decision

I read with dismay Friday’s article that Garfield Re-16 Superintendent Jennifer Baugh had refused to allow model student Naomi Villasano to wear a sash honoring the Mexican and American flags during her graduation ceremony. 

In an email to Villasano, Baugh stated that “representing nationalities specifically on a sash could allow for any other students to wear a pin with a flag of their county’s nationality.” I looked up “nationality” and found it to be “The status of belonging to a particular nation, as in ‘They changed their nationality and became Lebanese.'” 

I’m assuming that Villasano is an American citizen and was merely trying to share her Mexican “heritage” through her wearing of the sash (which also honors America). My wife, Sue, and I remarked that it would be wonderful if any students with other shared heritages wished to celebrate those heritages in this way.

In Monday’s PI, there is a letter defending Baugh’s thinking by suggesting the idea that students honoring their shared heritage in such a manner would be a bad thing. I’m old enough to remember when we celebrated this country for being a cultural “melting pot.” Most of us are descendants of people who came from somewhere else and many of us are proud of that heritage. I have always thought of it as interesting and positive when people shared those feelings.

Regardless of how this turns out, we wish Naomi well as we admire her achievements to date. We are sure she has a bright future and will continue to contribute to this planet we share.

Loran Randles, New Castle

Brooks for Holy Cross board

I am writing to encourage voters to vote for Ms. Linn Brooks for the Northern District board seat on the Holy Cross Energy (HCE) board. 

I have known Linn for a dozen years, first in my capacity as President of the Mountain Star Association as we negotiated the construction of a water tank with the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority for our community — she was the General Manager of UERWA/ERWSD. I found her to be a smart, tough-but-fair negotiator, a good listener willing to hear my side of the issues, and eventually an excellent partner as we successfully — with the Town of Avon — constructed the tank. 

Some time later, I applied to the board of the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District for the open board seat in District 3, to which I was appointed and elected, and have served as director ever since. In that position, I worked closely with Linn for seven years on many projects that are vital to the well-being of our community. My respect for her intelligence, leadership capabilities, and commitment to excellence is great.

Linn is very well-prepared to make significant contributions as a board member of Holy Cross Energy. Her knowledge of how to successfully manage an important utility for our community is well-established. She recently retired from her position as General Manager of UERWA/ERWSD, and now has time to concentrate on helping the HCE board deal with the important issues it is dealing with as it faces increasing energy demand from its customers, as well as sourcing new types of electricity generation — among other challenges. 

There is significant overlap and/or interdependence between water and electric utilities — power generation from the Shoshone generating facility, from dams like Glen Canyon and Hoover, high electric needs for fresh water treatment and wastewater processing, and challenges in setting appropriate prices for their services to customers — so Linn will hit the ground running, once elected. 

We couldn’t ask for a better representative on the HCE Board. Elect Linn Books to the board of Holy Cross Energy!

Steve Coyer, Avon

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