Retirement complex could land in Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Retirement complex could land in Basalt

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

BASALT – A pending land deal could put a continuing-care retirement community for senior citizens in Basalt.

The Aspen Valley Medical Foundation is close to securing 9 acres near Basalt High School for a development that it once hoped to put in Aspen. The nonprofit organization is making an offer on the property and working on the terms of a contract; the deal could be finalized next week, according to Kris Marsh, foundation president and CEO.

“We’re very excited. We feel Basalt has really been welcoming – they’re very excited about the project,” she said. “We’re hoping it will happen. The seller is eager, and we’re anxious to do it.”

The foundation initially looked for a place in Aspen to locate the retirement community, which is to provide independent living for retirees, plus an assisted-living program for those who can live independently, but need some help, and a skilled-nursing facility for those who require nursing-home care.

It had set its sights on property owned by the Moore family near the Aspen Recreation Center, but members of the Crown family, which owns the Aspen Skiing Co, purchased that 45-acre parcel late last year.

Basalt, as it turns out, is an ideal place for the facilities, Marsh said. Most of the individuals who expressed interest in retirement living at a facility in Aspen said they’d be happy with Basalt given its lower altitude, gentler weather, the community there and its proximity to Aspen.

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“Eighty percent of the people who had an interest are excited about Basalt,” she said.

The foundation received a $2 million anonymous gift last year that will go toward the purchase of the property, if the deal comes together, as well as help fund the initial expenses associated with moving the project forward. Seeking approvals from the town will be the first step in what is likely to be a three- to five-year effort to build the complex.

There will be land-use issues to deal with, but none that are insurmountable, predicted Bill Kane, town manager. The Town Council is supportive of the concept, he said.

“Just in general, we think it’s a great addition to the community,” Kane said. “I think it adds some diversity.”

A retirement community could bring active seniors into Basalt who will patronize its businesses and have time for volunteer pursuits, he said.

“There are just lots of positives for a small community,” Kane added.

The medical foundation spearheaded a study to gauge the need and interest in a continuing-care retirement community for seniors and found it exists. The envisioned project would include 75 individual residences – both apartments and cottages, plus 20 assisted-living units and a nursing home for 20 residents, allowing a continuum of care as a senior’s needs change.

In order to move forward, the foundation will seek commitments from prospective residents early in the process, according to Marsh.

“We want to find out who really is interested in being a resident,” she said. “Our goal is to get active, healthy seniors into the independent living first.”

janet@aspentimes.com

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