A Question for Bozeman. Which Do Prefer, The Old Or The New?
I hadn't lived in Bozeman very long when someone that I both respect and hold in high regard told me "when you get Montana license plates, whatever you do, don't get plates with a 6 in front". When I asked why they responded, "because then everyone will know you're from Bozeman."
I thought he was joking, turns out he wasn't.
We've all heard the nicknames, "Boz Angeles" or "The New California". People are flocking here in big numbers and for those who were born and raised here, well they're not overly excited about it, and why would they be? There's the old Bozeman that so many of them love and remember, then there is the new Bozeman and there are some folks that aren't real fond of the new Bozeman.
Bloomberg wrote an article about Bozeman almost a year ago talking about the growth and the high cost of living, in fact, according to the article, the cost of living in Bozeman is 20 percent higher than the national average, while the average income is 20 percent lower.
So what does that mean?
It means the average Montanan can't afford to live in Bozeman, a lot of Bozemanites can't afford to live here either. Hence why we see all of these "RV" neighborhoods around the city. Many of these are folks that simply can't afford what landlords are asking for rent. They work here, they just can't afford to live here and that makes sense when you figure that rent for a 2 bedroom has gone up 30 percent in the last couple of years.
So while people from out of state continue to migrate to Bozeman, the rest of Montana watches what is happening. The last thing Montanas want is a bunch of folks moving here and changing the way things have been. It reminds me of that old saying "We're all for change, as long as nothing does" and I totally understand that.
Someone mentioned to me that there are two types of businesses in Bozeman. New Bozeman businesses and Old Bozeman businesses. I wasn't really sure what that meant in the beginning, but I think I've figured it out. The other day my wife and I went out for lunch in one of the many wonderful dining establishments that Bozeman offers and as I looked around, I was like "oh, this is a new Bozeman business".
Most of you will know exactly what I'm talking about. There are places that represent the "Old Ways" and quite a few that represent the "New Ways" and that is where the debate begins.
I realize that I don't get much of a say in this debate as I'm "new to town", but this is what I can tell you. Yes, it's crazy expensive to live here and yes, I complain about it every day. However, we've found the people to be extremely friendly and welcoming. Of course, we're here because we love Montana and all of its beauty It's the place I fell in love with years ago when I first moved here.
So let me ask you this. Which do you prefer? The "Old" or the "New"?