Op Ed: Radcliffe
Ryan Summerlin April 16, 2013
I live in Fraser, and I really like being here in the Fraser Valley. My wife and I have made a significant investment here, not only financially but also personally. We have both dedicated ourselves to giving back to the community in many ways to make this a better place to live. For these reasons, I would like to see Fraser grow and prosper.
There are many people who think like me, but there are a few who would like to stop the clocks or even turn them back and stop the growth and development of this area at any cost. Clocks don’t go backward, they only go forward. How far should we go back? 150 years? Then none of us would belong here except the American Indians, bears and elk. 100 years? Then no Winter Park or ski resort. 50 years? Bye, bye Mary Jane. It is nostalgic and emotional to think about the pristine beauty of this valley of old, but it is naïve and misguided to think about going backward. Change is inevitable as much as we might wish otherwise. If we embrace change, we can own it and control it.
So what development is good for our area? I worked on the Broome Hut on Berthoud Pass this past summer and fall. Is that a blight on the beautiful area there? I think not. I also enjoy going to the bowling alley, theater and recreation center. Is that a blight on Fraser? I think not, but some disagree. I think that anything that adds to the desirability of living here is good for all of us.
There is a saying, “If you don’t grow, you die.” I think that aptly applies to Fraser. Since I have moved here, we have lost between 2,000 to 3,000 people in Grand County because of the economic downturn. That is not good for our schools or our businesses. Too many are just struggling to survive right now. We need to get working families back to the valley and that can only be done through investing in our community with good, well-planned development. Fraser also needs significant investment in infrastructure especially in water storage and water runoff. We certainly can’t raise taxes to do this. The only way to do it is to grow the local economy. Without these investments, we will continue on an unsustainable path and Fraser will eventually become a small asterisk in history.
The growth being proposed for Fraser is modest and will not change the character of the town. I don’t want Fraser to be the next Breckenridge. That will never happen. But, I don’t want it to die either. That won’t be good for any of us. If we make this a place that nobody wants to move to, we all lose. We need to face the realities of the modern world and not be afraid to make the changes that make this a nicer place to live. That is the only way to save this place we all love.
Steve Radcliffe has been living out his retirement in the Fraser Valley for seven years. He is an active volunteer with various organizations in Grand County and is not associated with the Byers Peak (development) project. “I am just a citizen concerned about the future of our community”.