Letter: Growth in the Eagle River Valley
Two letters have spoken to the issue of way too much growth and development. One can certainly appreciate their points of view and opinions. The Town of Eagle recently released answers to a community survey. A question was, “Generally speaking, do you think things in the Town of Eagle are heading in the right direction, or do you feel things are off on the wrong track?” In the 18-to-34-year-old age group, 91% said right direction, 7% said wrong track and 2% had no opinion. The 35-44 group had 79% right track, the 45-54 group had 65% right track, the 55-64 group had 61% right track and the 65-and-above group had 55% right track.
There were two trends. All age groups believed things are going in the right track, to varying degrees. The second trend was that the younger age groups had the highest opinions of things headed in the right direction. Neither of these trends, upon looking at our valley, is surprising.
Let’s suppose this survey was applicable to the Eagle River Valley population as a whole, and it likely would be with minor deviations of scores. It would appear to me that the up-and-coming population groups are overwhelmingly liking the population centers of the county, the many amenities and positive attributes growth has brought and the natural, as well as the man-made environments, as well as the diverse opportunities we have in our valley. In seeing the most engaging spirits of the younger people in our communities and their generally upbeat attitudes for living, working and recreating here, I for one, am thrilled with this trend, rather than the polar opposite.
Communities where the younger generations do not want to be, and leave in mass, never to return, are drive-through and after-thought communities for me. Certainly, I believe, without a sense of satisfaction of community, our thousands of guests and second homeowner populations would not want to be here either. We have vibrancy. We have community. We have positive spirits.
Our local governments, by and large, represent the current and future populations and are in line with the values of smart growth of the valley while considering landowner rights and where growth and higher density growth, in particular, should occur. And yes, many struggle here to make a living, but many have always struggled here to make a living and somehow our communities remain lively and prosperous and satisfied. And I, for one, believe we will continue the positive trend.