A decade later, Stillwater to break ground | AspenTimes.com

A decade later, Stillwater to break ground

After years of litigious blockage, the Stillwater Ranch affordable housing project is finally ready to flow.

Pitkin County commissioners, architects, contractors and residents will be on hand Wednesday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the long-awaited Stillwater Ranch condos, Pitkin County’s only affordable housing project.

The housing, which is expected to be completed by the spring of 2005, will include four two-story buildings containing nine three-bedroom and four one-bedroom apartments.

The Stillwater project was conceived 10 years ago, when local resident Fabi Benedict donated 4.2 acres of land east of Aspen, across the Roaring Fork River from Mountain Valley.

Since then, the county’s efforts to break ground on the project have been frustrated by various lawsuits and legal actions, most prominently by Stewart and Lynda Resnick, who live about a half mile away from the site.

The county recently prevailed on an appeal to the Resnicks’ lawsuit.

“The Stillwater project fulfills the late Fritz and Fabi Benedict’s dream to create a ‘near town’ living area for some of the workers they saw being driven out of the community,” Commissioner Mick Ireland said in a prepared statement. “Fritz spoke of his hopes for this development until the last week of his life.”

Stillwater’s attraction is its location and design. The four buildings will be on a scenic lot, bordered by undeveloped land and the Roaring Fork River. There is easy access to town via bus, bike or foot.

County officials hope the project will help Aspen bolster its working population.

“We think having people living in and owning homes near town will provide vitality that the community is losing,” Ireland said.

County officials say they will be working closely with the contractor to maintain a clean construction site.

Close attention will also be paid to traffic and parking issues through the yearlong project, according to officials.

The groundbreaking is slated for 10 a.m. on Wednesday. The public is invited to attend.

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