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Meeker’s new slogan “We must build it and urge them to come”?
Let me start by stating that I am not a Meeker native nor have I spent my entire life dreaming of leaving this particular small town. My husband and I both grew up on farms in what used to be a small town. We left for college, landed good jobs, got married, lived in a few cities, enjoyed the nightlife, had kids, and moved back to my family’s farm. We found the small town feel had been lost during the towns desire for growth. Our hometown had become an impersonal place people drove through on their way to the next stop. Luckily today we find ourselves living the good life in Meeker, a small mountain town where every day I wake up and look outside in disbelief.
In general I keep my opinions to myself about how Meeker should move forward. I bypass the booths and questionnaires. I wonder, why is everyone afraid that Meeker is not already the town it’s supposed to be? There isn’t another town with the same unique characteristics as Meeker and lots of people come here for the niche this town has to offer. Yet, it feels like the community thinks it might die out becoming a ghost town overnight. I’m not a native so maybe I don’t understand? I’m not a native so maybe I have a better understanding from the outside looking in?
Why does the town have to jump through hoops in order for the twenty something’s to yearn to move back? It’s OK that not all of these young people return. The ones who have a heart for small town life will eventually move back as will others who are seeking out a unique place to live and raise a family. At this point in their lives they will move here with life/job experience, skills in their field, and more financial stability therefore making them an asset to this town. The list is long in regards to the qualifications that these future Meekerites will possess if they move back after having spread their wings. Growth has to be an organic process, in fact if the process is pushed and rushed out of desperation Meeker will not attract the people and businesses it desires.
What does organic growth look like? If you live here and you have an idea then implement it, if you see an opportunity take it. Do it from a place of passion and drive. Earn it, be creative, and think outside the box. Give the people what they need (but they just don’t know it yet). If there is a demand for your business it will boom if not – well that happens too. Not your dream to own your own business? As it was stated in a previous article, there are job opportunities available. Young? Acquire the skills, start somewhere and work your way up. None of this is unique to Meeker, it’s a fact of life.
Does Meeker suffer from a case of “We’ve always done it this way”? The short answer is yes and it’s not always one of the town’s shining qualities. However, moving toward large gyms, bowling alleys, clubs, bars, breweries, pot shops and hot springs galore with a nightlife to die for is not the answer. If you desire to have access to unlimited restaurants, a plethora of things to do until all hours of the night and/or suffer from a severe case of “FOMO” the town of Meeker is not standing in the way. There are countless places near and far that offer an immediate cure.
Why do we want to be like every other tourist mountain town? I have met a number of people who have moved to Meeker in the last 5 years who did so because they fell in love with the town just the way it is. Are you paying attention? People are coming just like you desired, I meet them on a regular basis. Some grew up here and some just stumbled upon Meeker as a great place to raise a family. I ask myself, what will I do if Meeker turns into the next 24/7 destination town where walking down main street is a must because pedestrians are a hazard to all moving vehicles? I will be a voice opposing such a change. I am hopeful that my children, after having spread their wings, will have the option of coming back to raise a family in a place similar to where they grew up.