Fence around Fourth of July event at Nottingham felt like Guantanamo Bay in Avon (letter) | VailDaily.com

Fence around Fourth of July event at Nottingham felt like Guantanamo Bay in Avon (letter)

Vail Daily Letter to the Editor

When I first visited the valley for a month-long couch surfing ski trip in 1989, I was stunned and awed: The skiing was like nothing ever experienced, and the smiling faces and friendly nature of everyone in the valley made my trip an experience of a lifetime.

I returned two months later and became a full-time resident for a short time in West Vail, renting a room from a still good friend on the Vail Police force. Fast-forward six months, and I was ready to make my stay permanent and buy a home.

My journey in home buying brought me to Avon in the summer of 1990. It was then that I experienced the first Fourth of July in Avon. Again, I was stunned and awed by the setting and the longest, jaw-dropping fireworks show I had ever seen.

Again, fast-forward to 2018, and our stunning fireworks show is sadly removed from the event schedule, but the event at the soccer field is still on. So for the first time since I purchased my home in 1990, I was not obligated to have a party at my home to watch the fireworks from Nottingham road.

I was actually excited about going and seeing what locals and visitors had experienced for the last 27 years that I had missed; however, that excitement was quickly turned as I thought that my bike-friendly town was not that at all. As I rolled up to the soccer field area, I see everything fenced off with security goons imposing the silly rules set by my once-friendly town.

This seems to me anything but an event celebrating our birth of freedom 242 years ago. At that moment, I couldn’t think of anything but Guantanamo Bay prison, where our military detain the prisoners of terrorism. This is a free event, mind you, in our very small community, again celebrating freedom. For an event just a few hours in length, I never before have seen a more unwelcoming sight: non-bike friendly, prison-type atmosphere searching and patting down all who attend.

There was no sense of celebration, freedom removed, and honestly if I were visiting this place for the first time, this would be nothing short of a negative impression.

The leadership of this town has gone in a direction 180 degrees of the town I was excited to live in so many years ago. They have successfully removed most of the fun we once had at the soccer field, skating on the lake and simply being part of a community driven by tourism linked directly to sport.

Your fields are rarely occupied by sporting events so powerfully positive and neutral in nature that bring people together in friendly competition in a setting so beautiful, where no visitor leaves without snapping dozens of photos.

Your decision to allow bikes on all our roads is nothing short of a nightmare. It must have been cubicle people who do not ride bikes that made those decisions, allowing bikes and cars on the same roadways. Now more idiots with no helmets on beach cruisers feel it’s their right to be there.

This is a subject I do know something about since I’ve logged thousands of miles on dirt and road in the valley, selected to the U.S. National Team three times. In my numerous years in competitive cycling, cars and bikes on the same road are not a good mix, and Avon has successfully added massive liability to cyclists in my town. Thank you, Avon, for putting my life in a higher risk bracket every time I leave my home on my bike.

As for the events in this town, I will not likely attend many after the event on the 3rd. The Avon Town council has gone to the dogs, and leadership, along with community consideration, has a big question mark next to it. Do us all a favor and resign your positions so we can start making intelligent local money-making, instead of money-wasting, decisions.

Stephen Smith


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