Column: At the Vail Valley Partnership, we have an agenda — our valley’s success
November 9, 2017
Vail Valley Partnership — as directed by our board of governors — has been actively advocating for workforce housing, transportation and other business issues at a state and local level. Our board consists of business owners and managers throughout the valley. They represent a variety of key industry segments that make up our economy.
We fervently believe that our valley is one community, that each town in this valley is dependent on the others for its continued success, that successful businesses are essential to successful communities, and that the severe lack of workforce housing is keeping our businesses, our towns, our working citizens and our entire valley from being as successful as we could be. The intent of our advocacy efforts is not to change the mind of those who do not want additional housing units, or who do not want additional housing units near them.
The fact is, we have an agenda: to represent the business perspective on local and regional issues, help member businesses thrive and find customers while saving money, and provide regional leadership around "big issues" of importance. And boy, do we ever have big issues that need the voice of business.
It's acceptable if you disagree with this point. That said, I hope that at a local level we can avoid Washington, D.C.-style rhetoric and can disagree on issues without being disagreeable with each other.
We actively advocate in Denver and with our state representatives for fixes to Colorado's transportation infrastructure, and to support state tourism efforts. On a local note, we actively work with local governments and networks for an improved and enhanced transit network, and to raise money to increase air service to the Eagle County Regional Airport through the EGE Air Alliance. Important issues, all — and, based on our research and feedback, there is no greater issue facing our community than workforce housing.
We need responsible growth and provisions for workforce housing to be encouraged throughout the valley. Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) voices are always going to be present, and based on feedback we've received, the business community (and other local citizens) appreciates having a strong council of advocates that provide a balance to those opposed to new projects.
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We'll continue to bundle groups together using common parlance such as NIMBY. NIMBY is a term that has been used dating back to the 1980s and we'll continue to use this term — defined as "a person who objects to the siting of something perceived as unpleasant or potentially dangerous in their own neighborhood, especially while raising no such objections to similar developments elsewhere" — as a factual description. On its own, it is simply a descriptor; if you choose to be offended by this term, we encourage you to look in the mirror to see if the definition fits your behavior.
We celebrate those who actively engage in the community, regardless of opinions on housing proposals. The time, effort, and dedication given by various community members from Gypsum to Vail and all points in between make this valley a great place to live. Thanks to those who take the time to give back and be involved in our community; it is part of our fabric and contributes to our sense of place.
We also encourage folks on all sides of issues to remember that "when we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical." — Unknown
Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com.