Friday, November 9, 2007

Vision 2030 group discuss Valley's Future

Vision 2030 group discuss Valley's Future

Steamboat Springs — Some wanted to preserve Western heritage and others urged more affordable living options, but everyone at Wednesday’s Vision 2030 meeting agreed it will take the community working as a whole to enact positive change in the Yampa Valley.
“What do we want to see here in the year 2030 and what are we afraid we are going to lose?” project manager Tammie Delaney asked. “There are a lot of great things going on in the Yampa Valley, and this meeting is what it’s all about. … Vision 2030 is about looking ahead and making our dreams come true.”

In 1994, a group of community leaders and residents came together to form Vision 2020, a citizen-driven initiative that hosted community discussions about topics including education, transportation, economics, city planning and government.
“Many organizations sprang from 2020, and I think that tonight, that’s what we are all here for — coming together and sharing those things that really matter in our belly,” Delaney said.
About 100 people attended the meeting Wednesday night in Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill. The crowd broke into small groups for two roundtable discussions. The first focused on what the group valued most about living in the Yampa Valley.
“I believe what makes it so special here is that we have a connection to the place,” said Arianthé Stettner, a co-founder of Historic Routt County and former member of the Steamboat Springs City Council. “This is a place where one person can have an impact and it’s really easy to make things happen because we have that connection.” Caitlyn McKenzie said what she values most about living in Steamboat Springs is having the “wilderness right out my back door.” “The proximity to some magical places makes it pretty special here,” she said. Ed Allbright said that Western heritage and the spirit of the cowboys makes living in Routt County unique.
“It’s our fairy dust — something intangible that makes this place extra special,” he said.
The second discussion focused on what can be done in the next 20 years to enhance the region’s quality of life.

“We can live and work in this town and that is becoming threatened,” Stettner said. “We need to ensure that our children and grandchildren can afford to live here, and I’m afraid we’ve waited too long.” Marsha Daughenbaugh, a Vision 2030 volunteer, said Wednesday night was the first step in a lengthy three-step process to build from the Vision 2020 efforts and ensure the Yampa Valley is a great place to live. The group plans to spend 2008 exploring how to formalize and implement recommendations provided throughout the meeting process. A Vision 2030 report is planned for March 2009.

“The Vision 2020 report in 1994 addressed a lot of concerns and some of them we haven’t touched on very well — maybe transportation might come to mind right off the bat,” said Daughenbaugh, executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance. “But there were a lot of things we have done that are really important, and our elected officials have helped bring a lot of things to fruition.”

Vision 2020 directly led to the creation of First Impressions of Routt County, the Purchase of Development Rights program, the Routt County Open Lands Plan and Yampa Valley Recycles.
The Community Agriculture Alliance, Yampa Valley Partners and Yampa Valley Land Trust also have roots in the Vision 2020 process. Those in attendance also were asked to participate in an electronic polling session to vote on what common values are shared among Yampa Valley residents. Delaney asked the audience for their most cherished Yampa Valley memories.
Memories of riding to school on horseback, the world’s first Winter Special Olympics, Steam­boat’s Winter Carnival and some racy moments at the Strawberry Park Hot Springs were all volunteered.