Romer: Kindness and thanks
There is an old saying that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Just because something is newsworthy doesn’t mean it’s political or that it is acceptable to lose our cool.
This summer season has pushed almost everyone’s patience to the point that it would be nice to be able to disable and remove comments. But real life isn’t like Facebook or social media, where comments can be removed when they become vitriolic, rude and disrespectful.
Our culture has found all sorts of ways to fabricate divisiveness. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m tired of it and feel that the only way we can effect change in divisiveness is if we actively work against it ourselves.
In my kindest Mister Rogers or Bob Ross voice, I’d like to remind us that not only can we do better, but we need to do better. One thing I’ve always appreciated about Eagle County is that we can prove a community of people can be kind and respectful to one another.
I’m not saying that different views aren’t valuable and have a place — they absolutely do. But there’s a difference between having a different perspective and presenting it intelligently and just being disrespectful. The Vail Daily editorial board recently did a great editorial on the need to be patient and kind in the face of workforce shortages, road construction, mudslides and other inconveniences.
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And to be clear: It’s not all doom and gloom. There is plenty to be thankful for among the chaos and challenges. It is important to balance the short-tempered, human-nature response with a reflection on the efforts of the hardworking, front-line employees and long-term opportunities presented by some of the present-day challenges. I’d like to offer a quick thanks to a few of these people and agencies.
Consider the Colorado Department of Transportation and its efforts to mitigate the mudslides in Glenwood Canyon. The closure of Interstate 70 through the canyon has wide-ranging impacts on our workforce, interstate commerce, and the tourism industry — and we are likely to see additional supply-chain challenges for our manufacturing industry. Despite this, CDOT has done a good job communicating and is working to remove debris and access the damage to the highway.
The construction crews along U.S. Highway 6 in EagleVail also deserve thanks and recognition. They are doing a good job with communications to the community and the staff seemingly always have a smile and are helpful. The updated road will be a much-needed improvement.
While we are surrounded by construction impacts and highway projects, our pressing community challenge remains workforce housing. The Eagle County Board of Commissioners has approved the Bold Housing Moves program to stop talking about the challenge and make meaningful investments to help address the issue. Similarly, the town of Vail and the Vail Town Council deserve credit for approving the Residences at Main Vail, which will be a significant investment in workforce housing.
It’s not just capital projects that test our patience. Workforce shortages have caused businesses to reduce hours or close some days of the week. Our front-line employees in restaurants, retail, lodging and health care are the face of the community and provide high levels of service to our visitors and deserve heaps of praise and thanks for their efforts.
Let’s be unified in Eagle County and leave the stuff that divides at the door. Can we do it together? I think we can.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com.