Steamboat Springs Growth can be good. In a strong economic environment where existing year-round employers are adding to staff and new business/light industry is moving to the valley with high-paying, stable, year-round jobs, planned communities such as Steamboat 700 are viable and desirable.
However, Steamboat Springs and the nation do not find themselves in such a position. In fact, a number of economists have indicated that 2010 may be worse economically than 2009. The dilemma for our City Council and community is the commitment of high tax dollars to the unknown by annexing the Steamboat 700 project. Is that a risk we want to gamble on at this time? Are there currently members of the council or Chamber who are traveling the country looking for new employers to move to our valley?
One visit to the Food Bank will tell the story of half-empty shelves. A visit with LIFT-UP staff will verify the thousands of dollars being spent each month to buy food to feed the unemployed and underemployed residents of Routt County who would like nothing more than a stable, year-round job. We want to know who the developers think will be buying homes in the Steamboat 700 project if there are no jobs to support a mortgage?
We have a major issue within the city limits to be concerned with - the lifeline of the community, the long-term viability of the ski area. Council should be focused on commercial development at the base of the mountain or we will not be able to compete with Vail, Aspen and other major ski areas for the foreseeable future.
While we agree with Rob Douglas about not voting on every annexation request, Steamboat 700 is much too large a financial commitment for the council to make without our vote. Whether you are for or against the annexation, we must all be allowed to vote on the issue so council has a clear directive from the community.
Ken and Cindy Constantine
Ron and Dena Shively
David and Anne Hood