Good Things Sometimes Take Time

Headshot of Jody Shadduck-McNally. Photo courtesy of Larimer County.

By Jody Shadduck-McNally

Our current culture of immediacy conditions us to think that things can happen quickly with the tap of an app
or the click of a mouse. There’s much we can do at our fingertips today, and while it’s convenient, sometimes
things that are good and long-lasting take a bit more time.

Recently, the Board of Larimer County Commissioners, in a partnership with Loveland and Fort Collins,
announced the approval to purchase Heaven’s Door Ranch west of Loveland. While it might seem as though it
was rapidly decided to acquire this great public asset, it took years of relationship-building and effort to form
an agreement to purchase this property. This parcel, located west of Loveland on U.S. 34 will provide
immeasurable benefits to our community for recreational enjoyment, protected viewsheds, and habitat
preservation.

It takes time to build these relationships and to bring many different groups together before community
benefits like this can happen. Good public benefits often happen slowly to ensure that all voices are heard so
we’re making the right decisions while being good public stewards of taxpayer resources. Much of the work we
commissioners do is thoughtful, planned, and studied.

Along with other local governments, last year Larimer County received millions in American Rescue Plan Act
[ARPA] funding. These funds came with very specific guidelines that all local governments must follow. We’ve
focused on following these guidelines while also directing those funds to transformational projects that will
benefit everyone in our community and directing those funds in ways that would help members of our
community who have been severely affected by the COVID pandemic. Some of these projects support
economic recovery, while others address intergenerational inequities which have worsened in the wake of the
COVID pandemic.

We met monthly and consistently, to discuss how to thoughtfully spend our ARPA allocation, along with
multiple meetings with local and state government and nonprofits to leverage our resources for larger and
more impactful solutions. Our conversations enabled us to gain valuable insight and to understand how these
funds would be able to support those in our community now and in the future. This collaboration enabled us
to select just over 10 very strong regional projects. The respectful, extensive, and engaging atmosphere from
all our partners was evident during our many meetings, and proof that our community is very special. Again,
this collaboration happened over time and deliberation.

Some decisions need to be made quickly such as responding to natural disasters, but the ones that have long-
lasting benefits — whether preserving just over 1,500 acres for public open space like the Heaven’s Door
Ranch or supporting organizations that help to feed children like Loveland’s Kid’s Pak to helping those in our
community with affordable housing — most take time, planning, and much discussion. It’s important to bring
as many diverse voices as possible to a discussion to gain a full perspective before making a long-lasting
decision. Sometimes reaching a decision slowly and with care is better.

As a few of our guiding principles state, we strive to be good stewards of public resources, cultivate inclusive
and innovative partnerships, and promote innovation, to make our community a better place to live.
Jody Shadduck-McNally is a Larimer County commissioner representing all of Larimer County.

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