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Vote For Estes Park’s Future

To the Residents of Estes Park,

The Lessons of History: History has its relevancy. And in terms of history, the Town of Estes Park has been fortunate indeed. In the beginning there was F.O. Stanley. He gave the Town its original infrastructure (electricity, water, sanitation, bank, golf course, and recreation grounds). All at no cost. Mr. Stanley was so efficient, in fact, that the Town of Estes Park was able to delay its incorporation for a dozen years.

Three decades later, during the height of the Great Depression, it was the federal government that became the Town’s benefactor. It gave us five Civilian Conservation Corps Camps in nearby RMNP, which hired staff and provisioned themselves locally, and then each week sent their young recruits into town with money in their pockets. It was also the federal government, through the Colorado Big Thompson Trans-mountain Irrigation Project, that built Reclamation Village (today’s 1st to 4th Streets) and provided enough students to warrant a new school building that the U.S. Government helped to pay for. Simultaneously, Washington provided the funds necessary to convert poorly maintained state roads (today’s 7, 34, and 36) into modern paved and dustless federal highways. No other community in Colorado, and few in the nation, was so blessed.

Now Estes Park must turn to itself and its own resources, just as it did in 1982 after the Lawn Lake Flood. The election of April 2014 is clearly the most important in the Town’s 97-year history. It is a watershed moment, a tipping point. The experience of last September told us many things. One is that the apparent securities of the present are not a reliable base upon which to build a future. Another is that when new opportunities are offered, they must be seized and taken advantage of before they slip away.

There are, of course, any number of alternative futures. The history of Colorado is filled with communities that complacent in the comfortable givens of the present refused to take appropriate actions to secure their futures. We read about them in history books. They are referred to as “the lessons of history.”

Ours is now a very clear choice. Either the citizens of Estes Park vote for measures that embrace and welcome change, or they, just as consciously, vote for a future that economically and inter-generationally speaking is in all likelihood a diminished one. The verdict of history in this respect is absolutely clear. There is no status quo—there is no staying the way we are (or were). Change is inevitable. The only thing that matters is whether we choose to purposefully guide and direct that change or whether we sit back and allow its winds to carry us where they will. F.O. Stanley, sadly, is long-since gone; the federal, state, and county governments have done their part. Now, as in 1982, it is up to us.

Of course, the future is filled with uncertainties—that is what, by definition, the future is all about. Some would try to exploit that fact by throwing up endless negative “what ifs” to every positive and forward-looking suggestion. Do not let them. Their faces are turned towards yesterday. With the history of Estes Park in mind, make your vote on April 1 a confident step toward a brighter future.

James H. Pickering

 

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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