Are we mature? | AspenTimes.com
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Are we mature?

Eben Harrell

Pitkin County is a pretty nice place to live, but not to shop. Oh yeah, and the parking stinks.These are some of the results from a county survey released yesterday. Last year the county hired independent surveyor Linda Venturoni to determine demographics, shopping trends and concerns in the area. Approximately 1,000 residents, property owners and business operators participated.Yesterday, Venturoni told a roomful of county employees, including the commissioners, that the county had a more stable, mature population than many people realize. She also noted an overall approval of county operations and a “leakage” in shoppers out of county.Many of the results contradicted the stereotype of resort populations as transient. About 40 percent of those polled have lived or owned property in the county for more than 21 years. Fourteen percent of second-home owners plan to retire in the county, up 7 percent from last year, and around 76 percent of residents anticipate living in the county in 2014.Venturoni said people stay in county because of the lifestyle. When asked, “Why do you live in Pitkin County,” approximately 60 percent marked “recreational amenities” as a reason (“climate” also scored highly).”What we’ve seen is that people pretty much love this place,” Venturoni said. Venturoni went on to show that many county residents choose to do their shopping out of county, particularly downvalley. As an example, more than half of the county’s population shops for appliances in Glenwood Springs, according to the survey.”What we are showing is that every [shopping category] is leaving out of Aspen, except entertainment and restaurants,” Venturoni said.The commissioners received a stamp of approval for their stringent land-use codes. When asked whether they’d like to see more or less growth, around 70 percent of participants advocated similar or tighter restrictions than presently enforced.The county also learned that residents’ top complaints are the local airport (prices and lack of destinations, in particular), affordable housing opportunities, traffic flow and parking. More than half of those polled rated parking opportunities in the county as poor or very poor, although many said the issue was not of great concern.The survey cost the county around $11,000 to complete.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com


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