Burlingame open house scheduled for Tuesday | AspenTimes.com

Burlingame open house scheduled for Tuesday

ASPEN ” The city will try to clear the air on the controversy surrounding the Burlingame affordable housing project at an open house Tuesday.

It’s officials’ attempt to set the record straight on allegations that Aspen city government has mismanaged the project’s finances. City officials will be on hand for five hours to explain, among other things, how the cost of Burlingame became $73 million ” more than what a brochure disseminated to voters in 2005 indicated.

Financiers, administrators and other officials have been preparing for weeks, with the most recent gathering Friday, when those planning to present during the open house conducted a dress rehearsal.

Anyone who wants more information about Burlingame, is confused or intends to press officials hard on the costs associated with the project can show up in the basement of City Hall between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., or between 4 and 6 p.m.

In both the City Council chambers and the Sister Cities room, several stations will be set up that have specific topics of conversation, such as what has been built at Burlingame and the project’s history.

Another area will have city officials talking about how they’ve reconciled the costs and explaining how the brochure error happened. Results from two independent outside audits, financial and performance-based, are expected to be presented as well.

The future of the project, which still has two phases to be built, will be discussed, and recommendations from a committee of construction experts will be presented.

Families who live at Burlingame will be represented, and shuttles will be operating to give people tours of the development, located across from Buttermilk on the north side of Highway 82, outside of town.

The open-house format is a departure from what was originally going to be a town hall meeting to address concerns about the cost escalation of Burlingame.

“We wanted to attract as many people as possible,” said Sally Spaulding, the city’s community relations officer. “This is better than sitting in a room and being talked at and waiting an hour to talk.

“I think this would be a more pleasant experience for a broader audience.”


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