Page 12 - AUGUST2021
P. 12

By reBeCCa russo
Growing Pains In The Lakes Region
You’re told as a child to find the silver in lining in everything and through the year (and count- ing) of Covid, people have done just that. Many have turned to outdoor activities or found new creative endeavors to pursue to try to stay active. Which is a fantastic change, throughout the years I have talked about how much of a shame it is to see very few people outside on such beautiful days, children’s toys abandoned, bikes left to rust in the rain and brand-new campers vacant sitting in front yards on a bright and gorgeous weekend afternoon.
As Covid gripped the world in stay-at-home orders, and ev- erything seemed uncertain, a lot of people from all around the na- tion moved to smaller towns hop- ing to remove themselves from a higher risk of infection. Although it is heart warming to see families outside, riding bikes together and spending quality time with one another, it does make one ner-
vous about what the long-term repercussions are going to be for the influx of the population. People that call New Hampshire home are usually docile towards their part time neighbors, mostly because they’re only around during the summer months and a few weekends in winter. But now when people have moved into their second homes or able to buy a home through some mira- cle in this market, it’s hard to miss that there seems to be a bit more tension in the air. As our grocery store lines get unnaturally lon- ger and parking spaces dry up at local hiking spots and swimming holes many small-town dwellers feel the strain of dealing with the steady flow of new people. Sum- mer aside, there are more people moving here permanently. Al- though the job market is stable, people coming from different states may not realize that they may not be paid the same as they did before, or that skilled labor is hard to find in small towns. Many of our small towns are populated
with unskilled or undereducated workers, it may be hard to find a career NH and you may have to travel far distances to get a “good job.”
Although our towns are still quintessentially quaint and calm, there’s numerous cultural norms that come with being called a local. People in New Hampshire are independent and have cer- tain expectations, if you’re from another state, you may not pick up on the nuances of the locals. For example, there’s a particular need for politeness, because you will run into the same people repeatedly throughout your life. This creates a culture where you feel as though complete strang- ers know everything about you, and they will because of your interactions with someone they know. It’s easy to see that in close knit towns people keep their friend circles close, although we all enjoy the solitude the woods provide, we pride ourselves on being very social when the need arises. It may take awhile to earn
a local’s trust and comradery, but when you do, you will have someone who will be able to stop by without knocking or calling ahead of time because that’s how it is.
People may not realize that when they move up here, it puts a particular strain on the town’s ability to provide public resources. New Hampshire may only require property tax but that means that there aren’t many ways to collect money from res- idents, of course this means that taxes have gone up and people are currently struggling with their homes becoming more ex- pensive to maintain. Many peo- ple may interpret this change as being pushed out of the state because they are unable to afford housing. A massive housing cri- sis has struck the state, there are very few houses or apartments to be found. If you are looking to rent, you will see that the prices have gone up astronomically. For this crisis to change, we would need people to build new build-
ings, but with the price of lum- ber going up due to an increase in demand and the reduces man- ufacturing capacity, it is very un- likely that there will be enough for everyone.
Even though it has gotten egregiously expensive to live here, people will adapt. The sil- ver lining in this scenario is that more businesses will be created and having new people means that we will have fresh ideas and new perspectives that may in- vigorate our smaller communi- ties. More money going towards taxes means that our children will have better quality schools to attend, and it never hurts to meet new people when you’re living semi-solitude. Only time will tell how things change for all of us in the future, there may be some people that move away after Covid is under control, but I hope there are some that take to their new lives with the rest of us and are willing to kick their feet up and accept the small town life.
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