I live here, too | VailDaily.com

I live here, too

Tamara Miller
Vail CO, Colorado

I don’t remember when Edwards consisted of only the Gashouse and some cow farms.

I don’t remember when Bridge Street was a dirt road, and I wasn’t here when Eagle-Vail still was considered downvalley.

I never knew it was important to preface all my opinions with a brief history of my residency in Eagle County, and a few back-in-the-day statements, but since some longtime locals obviously think it’s important that I know that they are, in fact, longtime locals, I guess it’s important that they know a little bit about me.

So here it is: I live here, too.

Sure, I don’t remember an Avon without a Wal-Mart. Plenty of other locals don’t either.

In fact, I’m not so sure we’re in the minority. In my adopted hometown of Eagle, at least, I have a lot in common with about half of the residents in my adopted hometown in Eagle. A few years ago, a town survey revealed that about 50 percent of the town’s residents had moved there in the past 10 years.

With that in mind, perhaps our town boards could use a few more newbies. Maybe flaunting how you were born and raised here doesn’t mean as much when half of the people you represent moved here after the 1990 Census.

Believe me, I love hearing about the old days, knowing what Vail was like back when VR was VA, when everybody knew everybody else’s name. But does that mean their opinion is more important? Does a “Vail pioneer’s” vote count more than the guy who moved to Eagle County last year?

Does a longtime local have more of a right to be here than the rest of us?

I got to hand it to my fellow residents. This county is more open to newcomers than most places. A lot more open to newcomers than my hometown in Kansas. But as much as I appreciate our longtime locals, I get the sense that some of them think that their distinction is more a title, instead of a description. Like their perspective on the issues of today are more important.

I don’t even know what a longtime local is. How long do you have live here to qualify? Does a 10-year local qualify? A 20-year local?

Is there a magic day when a local resident’s opinion matters and they have a right to run for local office?

Recent transplants ” while we may realize it or not ” have helped fuel Eagle County’s growth. But most of us came here and took jobs that were created by locals who lived here first.

Much like longtime locals, we more recent transplants also work here, pay taxes here, are raising families here, or hope to do so in the future. Some of us think big boxes are great, some of us don’t. Some of us think Eagle County would be fine with a few thousand more people. Some of us don’t.

Some of us don’t understand what all the fuss about growth and development is. Some of us understand it all too well. Some of us moved here for exactly the same reason why longtime locals stay here. And some of us agree that Eagle County is changing, and there’s a lot of disagreement over whether it’s for better or for worse.

But anyone who has made the effort to move here, to this expensive, but beautiful place, has a vested interest in making sure Eagle County continues to be a wonderful place to live. That was the case 20 years ago, and it’s still the case today.

Opinion/Project Editor Tamara Miller can be reached at tmiller@vaildaily.com.

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