Greeley. Home of some of the nation's largest feedlots. Home of the unmistakable stench of cow feces. The fastest-growing city in America.
Yep, according to the census bureau, Greeley has superceded St. George, Utah and Las Vegas as the fastest-growing city in the nation. And many who move to Greeley for the cheaper housing (is it really worth it?) actually work in Denver and commute about 120 miles a day.
But in many ways, this is kind of indicative of the growth that we get in Colorado. We do have our exurbs but we are also a rural state, and a pioneer state, so small cities pop up about every 15 miles here, or roughly one day's worth of wagon travel. We have our pointless suburbs like Highlands Ranch but many here choose instead to live in the actual towns that dot the highways, 15, 30, 45 and 60 miles apart. Greeley is not a suburb. Longmont is not a suburb. These are actual towns with histories and backgrounds and lifelong residents and "old families."
But when growth occurs like what Greeley has seen in the past 3 years, the towns struggle to maintain these individual identities. In places like Frederick and Firestone and Erie, the struggle has failed. Good luck to anyone who tries to tell the tri-towns apart. Good luck to any Frederick/Firestone resident who has to take a taxi home, then drunkenly figure out which town he actually lives in. These small cities have lost nearly all semblence of individuality . . . and as soon as enough yuppies move to Greeley, they might drive out the stockyards and you won't even be able to smell your way home.