Wendy Koenig

The way forward for Estes Park involves pivoting toward civility, resilience and collaboration, not wallowing in pity, rigidity and selfishness.

Look around Estes. See how, as safer-at-home replaces shelter-in-place people of all walks—neighbors, shopkeepers, hoteliers, workers and others—are putting aside their differences to pursue the common good. Collaborating to ensure everyone here is healthy and safe. Addressing economic and social challenges. Putting Estes Park on a course toward a bright, prosperous, and harmonious future.

See the Accelerated Recovery Team (ART). Made up of the best and brightest people from the Estes Park Estes Area Lodging Association, Estes Park Police Department, Rocky Economic Development Corporation, Mountain National Park, Town of Estes Park, and Visit Estes Park Marketing District. People who banded together last March for the expressed purpose of moving Estes beyond the health and economic crises spawned by Covid-19.

Watch the way ART is deftly morphing into the Estes Valley Resiliency Collaborative (EVRC). Expanding its membership to include representatives from Estes Park Health, Estes Park Housing Authority, Nonprofit Resource Center, and School District. Launching projects to safely and responsibly open up the town, that include: A branded face-covering campaign, expanded outdoors seating areas, hand washing/sanitizing stations downtown, working with Larimer County's recovery team to ensure representatives from Estes Park are members of the team’s various task forces, and advocating that the recovery team add task force specifically focused on transportation and infrastructure issues.

As you look around Estes, make notice of the gracious manner in which citizen members of the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) are reviewing a proposed Public Works Department pilot program to expand pedestrian space on Elkhorn Avenue. Be aware that last week, TAB members met with the Town Public Works Department director Greg Muhonen to discuss the project. That the Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual meeting about pedestrian space expansion. And in the weeks that follow further public engagement will occur.

Each of the cases above exemplifies the way people here are focusing on what is controllable, not quarrelling about what is not. Adopting an attitude of doing what we can with what we have—and growing from there.

Together, as we grow forward let’s find the good in each other. Draw out our strengths. Tap skills. Honor diversity. Knowing that as we do, our collective actions tell the world that people here stand together. That Estes is bigger than the pandemic.

Toward that end, I ask two favors. First, please take time to catch people stepping up. Focusing on what they can control...and striving to grow from there. Tell them you notice. Then, drop me a note describing what’s happening. I’ll use this space to acknowledge their efforts. Second, please check out Recursos: Valle de Estes on Facebook to see the terrific way Dave Thomas is translating video reports about the work of the board of trustees from English to Spanish for the Latino members of our community.

Meet me here next week for another report out. In the meantime, stay safe, remain healthy and keep howling.

#EstesPark #EstesCivility

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