Chelsea Soderberg: Disenchanted local
June 25, 2011
I would just like to express my disappointment in the "old-time locals" of Steamboat Springs. You know who they are. However old or young, they are the individuals who think Walgreens is the devil, wish Old Town Pub was still a hospital and want to ride a horse to work every day. The previous statements may be extreme, but these are the people who never want Steamboat to change and wish that we could go back in time 100 years and freeze town in the state that it was in "the good ol' days." Benjamin Franklin once said, "When you're finished changing, you're finished." This may come as a surprise to some of you, but Steamboat isn't finished.
All of this disenchantment came for me after attending what was supposed to be a work session or discussion that turned into an argument about the bike jumps that are built on city property. Yes, these jumps were built illegally over the past eight years — everyone knew that. But that was not the agenda of what was supposed to be a positive work session.
The things I heard and saw from locals at this meeting were truly astonishing. Do we only share our "Steamboat spirit" with tourists? I suppose I arrived at this get-together with a bull's-eye on my chest purely by walking up the wrong side of the hill with a crew of freeride bikers, but the way I (along with others) was treated was totally uncalled for. This was my first time up to those jumps, but the way I was looked at and spoken to you would have thought I was right there with the crew that did all the work.
I am a six-year Steamboat resident who pays taxes, supports the town's kids in all of their fundraisers and makes sure to buy local to support this great place we live. Never in my life have I been treated the way I was at this meeting. I am also new to the biking community and quickly falling in love with such a great sport. Seeing that bike area brought a smile to my face knowing that this or something like it could one day be a part of our community, Bike Town USA.
I commend the city and Parks and Recreation leaders for the way they handled the heated meeting. They were extremely professional and took note of comments from both sides of the argument even if they were totally uncalled for. Thank you, I do not envy your position.
It is a great thing when members of the community take ownership of their town; they just need to recognize that they share that feeling of ownership with many. Just because it is near your house or backyard does not mean it's yours.