Janet Day: Columnist comment opens a floodgate of feeling
Talk of the Valley
Ugly Is as Ugly Does. My last column’s comments about how ugly this area has become generated a lot of emotion and response. Some of it was angry about the growing ugliness in our community and some was angry at me. A few e-mails were rants; others pursued personal agendas; most were thoughtful.
One person called what’s happening here the “Summit-ization” of Grand County with residential over-building at a huge environmental and lifestyle cost. A couple people mentioned the fires that seem to be burning all the time near the Tubing Hill, on Old Town Road and somewhere back by County Road 5, filling the air with smoke.
I’m not sure there’s currently a better way to get rid of beetle kill and slash, and I suppose if you are going to burn, this is the time of year to do it safely, but it’s still nasty to look at and smell.
A few people mentioned the recent clear cutting for yet another high-density development in the Winter Park Ranch neighborhood, right behind Meadowridge. It’s bared the hillside, created erosion problems and removed any sense of being back in the woods in what had been a lovely neighborhood where every home felt private, surrounded by pine trees and wildlife. One woman called it a “massacre,” and from a visual standpoint, that’s a pretty apt description. I also heard complaints about truck traffic, abandoned vehicles, “hillbilly” use of broken furniture on porches and in front yards, zoning non-compliance/non-enforcement, the lack of proper drainage along Kings Crossing Road, a construction-related problem that fills the road with mud and debris and concerns that the “center” of our community was soon going to become the Village at Winter Park Resort, which is adding housing, lodging, shops, restaurants and a full “identity” that the towns lack.
Here are some excerpts from one thoughtful e-mail wondering why Winter Park and Fraser can’t get a handle on development:
“Here’s a suggestion for City Hall: Put more emphasis on developing the commercial and less on the residential aspects. Granby has experienced substantially greater investment over the past three to five years than Winter Park/Fraser (Orvis, Grand Elk, Granby Ranch). Winter Park is fast becoming an extension of Fraser ” a bedroom community for Winter Park Resort. So why is the town, and its businesses, still doing nothing to distinguish themselves (exception is Hideaway Park)? Give us a break from the glut of condo construction. And while you’re at it, get a handle on Cornerstone. The Meadow has been uglied-up long enough. And how about it Cornerstone? Become a good neighbor and replace your ungodly signage with something appropriate to our community. And follow that with the destruction of the three-year stand of dirt piles and fix your wetland so it holds water and actually becomes a wetland and stops running water all over walking trail.”
But the number one addition to my list of what’s made the Valley so unattractive was litter in and around Fraser. Roads lined with it. Fields full of it. One Fraser resident told me she routinely goes out and picks it up or piles it up for her husband to collect in bags and then dispose of properly.
There were complaints about the lack of trash bins along parts of the Fraser River Trail and along the paved trail where people pick up after their dogs and just drop it ” bag and all ” on the side of the trail. A lot of the garbage is now under some much-needed snow, but a walk this weekend found plenty of new beer bottles, energy drink cans, plastic grocery bags and food wrappers on top of the snow.
There’s got to be a way to find some balance that allows animal-proof trash containers to be put in public places and then not abused by those part-time residents and weekenders (and a few full-time residents I know quite well) who won’t pay for trash pickup, take it to the dump or pack it out when they leave.
Instead, they drive around looking for public trash bins and condo dumpsters to dispose of their weekend’s worth of garbage. There’s enough of it going on in my neighborhood that I’m tempted to do an “Alice’s Restaurant” imitation and dig deep into the trash to find some identifying items, track the people down and give them their own garbage back. Better yet, I’ll give them my recyclables that have no where else to go.
Local Highs and Lows. A friend was visiting from Seattle last weekend, so we did the girl thing ” mountain version ” snowshoeing, a spa day, a little shopping, happy hour and eating out. I was reacquainted with some old favorites I hadn’t experienced in a while and some old disappointments that haven’t improved. The local highs included the waterfall jacuzzi at the Ranch Creek Spa at Devil’s Thumb Ranch; the gorgeous bar stools (leather seats with backs on wrought iron) and gregarious bartender at the Ranch House Saloon Bar at Devil’s Thumb; the 2003 Cabernet at Verso Cellars and the blackberry cobbler at Mama Falzitta’s (plate-licking, out-of-grandma’s-oven, comfort-food, bad-for-you delicious.) The disappointments included the continuing lack of choices for dining out, particularly somewhere comfortable without the high-decibel din found in so many places, and the overuse of salt in most kitchens around here. I had one plate of fish and chips that seemed to have been dredged in salt and another restaurant’s signature beef dish swimming in a salty sauce.
Holiday Shopping. Time to start shopping for the big holiday. No, not Christmas. That kind of shopping is so November. I’m talking about the big holiday ” Valentine’s Day. Cupid’s Corner Gift Show will again be held at the Fraser Historic Church, so you can find the perfect gift for the special someone. Francie DeVos is sure to be back with all her fun and naughty treats, as well as local artists offering jewelry, fantastic baked goods, decorative items, soft and cozy knit caps, even gift certificates for some personal life coaching. Cupid’s Corner benefits Middle Park Land Trust, one of my favorite local do-gooder groups, one that is working harder than anyone to protect key pretty places from turning ugly. The shopping starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. Mark your calendars.
Finally, Clothes for Us. Speaking of shopping, be sure to take a browse through the new Seven Sisters shop next to Bottle Pass Liquors, where Lonesome Stone used to be. It’s a store that doesn’t sell touristy t-shirts or anything with a bear, moose or pine tree on it. There’s no plaid, no flannel, no big clunky wood furnishings. I love the funky appliqued and sequined tie-died knit tops, the delicate batik hoodies, the lacy and feminine skirts. This is stuff for us, for people who just want clothes that are comfortable, fun and don’t look like they were bought on vacation. Best of all, we don’t have to go to Denver to find them. The shop also carries home decor items from Peru, interesting ethnic pottery, little bags from Nepal and big bold glass bead jewelry.
Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to JDayQuilts@msn.com.
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