Romer: What is your greatest hope for the future of the community?
Eagle County is in the midst of the Vista project, designed to promote participation in community development, rebuild the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and improve equitable access.
The project asks community members to share their stories and feedback to a variety of questions. We have explored what we love most and our biggest concerns. The third and final question is: “What is your greatest hope for the future of the community?”
My greatest hopes are centered around the theme of community resiliency. We must work collaboratively and actively to ensure the needs of Eagle County residents and businesses are addressed by recovery efforts and we continue to maintain a focus on our foundational community issues to ensure resiliency into the future.
Why community resiliency? Simple: This is the foundation by which we ensure that our community is a place that our kids can come home to after college, or can stay and work if they decide not to go to college. Building a resilient community that focuses on the needs of our residents and our businesses helps to ensure that opportunities will continue to expand and our community will be accessible.
I hope we continue to address our affordable housing issues. This is essential to the continued success of our community, our economy, and our diversity. I hope that we recognize the need for increased investment in deed restrictions and other programs to keep locals local and to build a community that allows our children to grow and stay here.
I hope we continue to push for transportation infrastructure improvements, expanded transit access and increased air service development. Our transportation and transit systems need continued investment at a federal, state and local level to ensure that Eagle County remains a resilient community attractive to outside investment and a resilient and accessible community for our year-round locals.
I hope we will seek to be more competitive by supporting high-quality education systems that address workforce needs through innovative programming. The Eagle County School District and Colorado Mountain College play important roles in community resiliency and I hope that we continue to invest in supporting their missions moving forward.
I hope we recognize our strengths while addressing our weaknesses. The heart of Eagle County’s economy is small business, reliant on our key industry sector of tourism and recreation. It is incumbent to continue to strengthen our local economy by supporting our emerging sectors to provide economic diversification and a stronger community.
Eagle County is a leader in many efforts, and I hope that our community will continue to advocate for the tools and resources necessary to lead locally, regionally, nationally and globally. I hope we continue to lead not only in recreation and tourism but in health care, immigration, broadband, workforce housing, workforce development and other issues that impact our community.
I hope for all these things and more because I hope my child and her friends can find ways to build their post-education lives in Eagle County. However, hope is not a strategy, and hoping for a community that our kids can return to isn’t enough. We must remain focused on both today’s needs and building for the future so our future generations can thrive here.
What about you? Are you ready to help make our community better? Will you join me in sharing your story? We all have a unique viewpoint regarding your hope for the future of Eagle County. Share your story at VistaEagleCO.com
Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com