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Housing authority seeks public input

Janet Urquhart

Want a say in the design of affordable housing? Have questions on how to qualify for a unit? Just want a free movie ticket?

Come to the Wheeler Opera House on Wednesday.

The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority will host a day-long open house in the second-floor lobby at the opera house, featuring round-table discussions on various housing projects. Members of the public can get acquainted with projects that are in various stages of planning and construction and weigh in with their own ideas on what the housing office ought to provide in its worker housing.

The housing office is currently developing plans to build 567 to 742 new units and 1,098 to 1,393 additional bedrooms to house local workers, according to Jay Leavitt, director of development.

The range of units reflects a number of projects that are still up in the air – and open to public input, he said.

“There are a lot of new projects the housing office has taken on – they’re all in various stages,” Leavitt said. “This is an opportunity for the public to see what these projects are and where they’re at. This is kind of a time for everybody to see it all in one place.”

Plans and drawings of developments will be on display, including three projects that are already under construction or ready to go. The Seventh and Main project is nearing completion and will be ready for a lottery this summer. Construction is just commencing on additional rental housing at Truscott Place, while the Stillwater project was recently approved. Those projects include 127 units and 178 bedrooms, according to Leavitt.

In the planning stages are Aspen Mass, Burlingame Ranch, a project on a piece of Burlingame next to the Aspen Airport Business Center and housing on what is currently the U.S. Forest Service parcel in the West End. Various members of the housing office staff will be leading discussions on what could be built at those sites throughout the day.

In addition, a session from 1 to 2 p.m. will focus on how to qualify for housing lotteries and get on the waiting list for rental units.

The first five people to arrive and participate in each of six one-hour time slots during the day – starting at 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – will receive a free ticket to a movie at the Wheeler.

The noon round table, on Burlingame Ranch, will be a lunch session. Participants are welcome to bring a bag lunch; soft drinks will be provided.

A second discussion on Burlingame, where the planning to build 225 units is under way, will begin at 5 p.m. The day will conclude with a 6 p.m. discussion of Aspen Mass, a project slated for land near the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road. A cash bar, with beer and wine, will be open from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

For more information, log on at http://www.aspenhousingoffice.com or call the housing office at 920-5068.

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