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Quite the contrary Russell - our group is far from negative and backward looking. Simply because we are “against” this current initiative does not make our statements negative - rather we see a different path to achieving the same goal. If the roles were reversed, your objection to the proposed initiative might seem negative as well.
I would argue that we are taking a more pragmatic approach to this issue - preserving the neighborhood school that all hold so dear and not jumping on a plan that not only destroys that ideal (and the argument that we will have a middle school there does not justify it in my mind) but puts a new tax burden on this community. We say no, and we say that we can still achieve what we want by other means.
Ken - it looks like we shared the same experiences growing up as I was a Gwinnett County kid (Brookwood High) who watched the area go from farmland to sprawl overnight. I agree that we need to avoid what was done there at all costs - we moved here from downtown Atlanta 5 years ago and are not looking back.
I think this is a discussion that has proponents on both sides, and both sides can present a credible argument. I appreciate the respectful tone taken here and look forward to a lively debate gong forward!
Ken - I am going to politely disagree in that this issue does boil down to a new high school. I think we can all agree that we are seeing issues around overcrowding, and we are all trying to peer into the crystal ball to see where the numbers will be in the near future. There are a number of options out there to help alleviate the issues (retrofit existing buildings, build a new elementary school) and the new high school options has emerged as the top choice of those moving this forward. There is a large contingent of residents that believe - as I do - that the high school and its location are a top priority for this town, and that we do have other options to consider instead of moving it.
I also think that the apparent lack of involvement on the issue has alot to do with timing - this was brought up right before summer break and a large number of folks are not here to really engage. With the new school year coming up quickly, there will be alot more involvement from parents who will be affected by this decision.
And one of the most interesting comments on these threads was from Charles Brewer, the founder of Mindspring and previously of Green Street Properties in Atlanta. His urbanist development approach created a number of great developments in Atlanta, focusing on existing, walkable urban centers while much of Atlanta was trying to push everything to the suburbs. I want to repost his comments because I think it really sums up the feelings of those of us want to continue exploring other options:
"The recommendation to move the high school out is the kind of thing one might have expected to see in the dark ages of urban planning of the 60’s or 70’s. It is very surprising to see today, when the overwhelming importance and benefits for towns of having walkable centers that include important assets like the high school are much better understood and appreciated. From my recent visit I would say that the high school is perhaps the most important single institution for life in the town. Yet this overwhelming important factor seems to have been barely considered in the recommendation. I find this nothing short of amazing.
Moving the high school outside of town would be a disaster regardless of how many playing fields, parking lots, or other amenities might be included on the remote site. It would be a huge step towards making Steamboat just another generic have-to-drive-everywhere-all-the-time-to-do-anything part of Suburban USA. Steamboat deserves better.”
Thank you Steph - it continues to frustrate when you hear those that are driving this initiative proclaim that this is the popular opinion. I can show you a large number of people downtown who won't be voting for this either, as well as a good number of people who come in from the east.
I agree that a neutral polling group should come in and get a real read on how this community feels. There is a big distrust around here with those that are trying to push these big initiatives through without really vetting those that it will affect - and if 28 people is what they are basing this "support" around, then they are in for a long process.
And I agree Russell that we need to come together to address these issues (and appreciate your passion around the issue as well!) - but there are a large number of folks who aren't buying this one. It's way too soon to say that this is the right way to go.
I will say, however, that the new trail out there is great and much needed- here is hoping that we can find a permanent solution soon!
"It also became clear it was the most popular choice of community members who attended a series of meetings to discuss the future of school facilities in the city."
If you attended these meetings you would know that this statement is far from true. I agree that the meetings were open, and people did not want a bandage solution, but building a new high school was far from the popular choice here.
We’ve lived in Atlanta, Boston and San Francisco, and if you want to complain about DMVs I would suggest to these individuals that they register a car in those towns. Long waits, snarky employees and no sign of customer service anywhere in the building. Our DMV is a dream, staffed by wonderful people and I am never waiting more than a few minutes. Another reason why we made our way to Steamboat!
Solomon family can’t wait!
Incredibly well stated Russell/Rhys. It is a day to remember those that are no longer with us, and there will be plenty of time to debate whether or not we agree with the reasoning behind it all later.
Scott B - as always, I appreciate your thorough approach to issues like this and presenting fact vs. a contrived opinion pushed on us as fact (see the downtown URA discussion). Trying to predict where we will be in 5-10 years is by no means an exact science.
My wife and I both grew up with community schools, and while mine was a short drive away, my wife enjoyed the ability to walk every day to a large, multi-level catholic school. I don’t think we can value enough the fact that we have that in this community, at all grade levels, and it is a big reason why alot of us have worked as hard as we have to make a life here. Our kids can walk to Soda Creek now (and will to middle and high school as well) and we can hear the sounds from the high school stadium on a Friday night. It is the vision that we - and many others here in town - built our decision on when moving here, and studies and consultants aside, it should be a big factor in this discussion. I have a hard time with the idea that we have to keep knocking things down and rebuilding them bigger and better when there are ways to maintain and improve, especially with the brilliant architectural minds that exist today.
This town has an incredible amount to offer as a community, and the notion of uprooting our high school and putting it in a location that requires lines of cars heading west every morning does not sit well with alot of us. I look forward to more discussion on this and making the prudent decision for the community!
Welcome to Steamboat! As native Right Coasters (we lived in Boston and Atlanta), we made the same move 5 years ago with our then 2-year old for a slower pace and great community. We've gotten that and so much more here, and now with two more little ones in tow we could not be happier. Looking forward to bringing the family down and trying out the new menu - and tasting that East Coast-style pizza!
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