Our View: Get involved in 2008

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— As the coming year unfolds, and events build on projects, planning and policies begun in 2007, we encourage Routt County citizens to take an active involvement in their community because 2008 is shaping up to be a big year.

While the past 12 months brought a heavy dose of change - Intrawest, an essentially brand-new City Council, an interim superintendent, and ongoing facelifts to downtown Steamboat Springs and the base of Steamboat Ski Area, among others - we expect those changes to accelerate in '08, like a snowball rolling downhill. Or an avalanche.

On Wednesday, the Pilot & Today Editorial Board will outline its goals and wishes for Routt County in 2008. Today, the board will set the table for that meal, with a rundown of what lies ahead for the county in the next 12 months.

It's a long list.

Early in the year will be the Feb. 5 Colorado caucus, in which community members will gather to discuss party nominations for President of the United States. The caucus will be a vital step toward a momentous election that, in November, will also include a U.S. Senate race for Colorado voters, a state Senate seat in Routt County's district, two Routt County commissioner seats and a possible question about renewal of the city's Education Fund Board sales tax.

Also early in the year is a public discussion about the future of Steamboat Springs Airport. The work of two consulting firms, one updating the airport's master plan and another outlining alternative uses for the site, is scheduled for presentation to the Steamboat Springs City Council in February. Much of the work of the master plan group, Armstrong Consultants of Grand Junction, is already completed and available to the public on the Web.

The consultants' reports, we hope, will fuel the pubic discussion needed to cement the use of the airport site and enable the City Council to move forward confidently.

In March, the council-appointed, citizen-led Historic Structures Policy Review Committee is scheduled to make its recommendations to the City Council. This will provide a public forum for the heated topic of historic preservation. Again, it is our hope that the process will create progress, not further division.

As the year progresses, the Steamboat Springs School District will finalize its search for a new superintendent, Ski Time Square will be demolished, redevelopment projects at the base area will continue, and plans will likely develop for not only a new Ski Time Square, but also for the potential Steamboat 700 development and annexation west of downtown. And the widespread construction will continue.

The importance of the 700 development was highlighted in the 2007 City Council campaigns, when candidates rightly spoke of the annexation as potentially the most critical issue that will shape the future of Steamboat Springs and Routt County.

For all of these reasons, we cannot stress enough the importance of public input and action in the year to come.

In the Style section of today's newspaper is part of a New Year's forecast from the Steamboat Pilot, 50 years ago. Much of it rings true today. In a selection not appearing in today's paper, that writer noted that it was the Pilot's 73rd New Year.

And so, for the 123rd time, we wish each and every one of you a happy, prosperous and healthy 2008.

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