In Brief: Aspen City Council authorizes $800,000 in inflation relief grants; Aspen attorney makes partner
Aspen council aims to provide inflation relief
The Aspen City Council has authorized $800,000 in inflation relief grants to community health and human services and early childhood education organizations.
The grants are intended to assist organizations experiencing inflationary pressures that have increased demand for services and/or reduced organizational capacity to maintain normal levels of service in the short term and provide the runway necessary to adapt operations for long-term sustainability, city officials said.
“We are fortunate that the hard work and dedication of the entire Aspen community enables council to distribute these funds quickly to where they will have an immediate impact,” said Aspen Mayor Torre. “Our expectation is these emergency funds will allow grantees to focus on their core mission rather than managing the pressures that inflation creates such as retaining staff.”
In October, the council directed staff to administer a grant program providing emergency inflation relief to local organizations with the goal of getting critical funding to community organizations quickly with a transparent and consistent review process.
Based on the grant eligibility criteria set by the council in October, staff anticipated 36 organizations were able to apply and contacted the them about the opportunity. In addition to experiencing inflationary pressures related to increasing demand and/or reducing capacity, recipients needed to have either previously received a grant through the city’s and an human services grant division within the past three years or be an early childhood education provider that operates within city municipal limits.
Applicants were required to discuss how inflationary factors affected their organization and to detail how the funds would be used to offset the impacts and prepare for long-term sustainability. Requests fit into three broader categories of employee retention, emergency financial aid, and critical program materials. Ultimately, 17 health and human services organizations completed applications, along with three early childhood education organizations. While total requests for funding exceeded the program budget, all applications received at least 50% of their initial request.
Following the City Council’s approval, staff will immediately begin contracting and dispersing the funds with the intent that all awardees will receive the grant monies before the close of 2022.
To learn more about the city of Aspen grant program, visit aspen.gov/383/Grants.
CMC makes space more communal rather than selling
Colorado Mountain College’s Glenwood Center recently converted its former computer lab to a more communal space for students and community members.
“I feel like the community spoke up and said that this was an important place to them and an important part of the community and our administration listened,” said Laura Hardman, assistant dean of instruction and Glenwood Center director.
She was referring to a proposal before the CMC Board of Trustees two years ago to potentially close the Glenwood location and sell off the property, which met community resistance.
“We needed to make sure that we had a good space for all of our students,” Hardman said.
The renovation involved removing the rows of computers in the first floor learning lab and replacing them with some cozy furniture, large spaces and smart boards for group studying. The idea was to make the space a more comfortable study environment for individual students or group study sessions.
“We used to have students who would, for example, take a calculus class, and then they would say, ‘we need a classroom where we can go have a study group,’ and we would always open a classroom for them,” Hardman said. “Well, now they can come in here and have a study group.”
She said that the building already has four and a half full computer labs, so instead of opening up a classroom each time a group of students ask, they can come to the newly renovated learning lab instead.
“Since the pandemic, everybody has their own device,” she said. “Since then, we’ve been trying to make this space a little bit more vibrant and well-utilized.”
Comedian Becky Robinson coming Saturday to Wheeler
Comedian Becky Robinson will perform at the Wheeler Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Saturday as part as her The Heavy Pour Tour. Robinson has been on the Wheeler stage several times as part of the Aspen Laugh Festival. She blends stand up, characters and other routines into her all-new show The Heavy Pour Tour is Becky Robinson and Entitled Housewife live.
Tickets to the show range $29-$42 and are on sale now at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office (970.920.5770/ aspenshowtix.com). The Wheeler Opera House is at 320 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen, CO.
Robinson is an LA-based comedian, writer, actor and voice-over star. Her TV character antics and viral videos now make her one of the youngest headliners on the circuit, according to Wheeler.
A Christmas poem up in the air
The Sopris Soarers are a local aerial academy and performance troupe based at The Launchpad studios in downtown Carbondale. This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested.
Aspen attorney makes partner at Holland & Hart
Holland & Hart announced the election of 24 partners effective Jan. 1, 2023, including Kevin Giles in the firm’s Aspen office.
Serving clients in a range of practice areas and industries across the firm’s footprint, the elected partners also include attorneys in the firm’s Boise, Boulder, Cheyenne, Denver, Jackson, Reno, Salt Lake City, Santa Fe, and Washington, D.C., offices.
Giles, a collegiate baseball player at Georgetown prior to law school, maintains an active litigation practice, representing clients through real estate disputes involving title matters, HOA disputes, construction, and other real estate-related litigation, according to Holland & Hart, who said he’s also a real estate investor.
Eagle County real estate dips toward pre-pandemic 2019
Eagle County’s real estate market this year won’t crack the $4 billion mark in sales volume. But this will be the third consecutive year sales volume has exceeded $3 billion.
Through the end of November, the valley’s real estate sales have slowed somewhat from the frantic pace set in 2021. That’s probably a good thing.
“What the market is doing is getting back to a semblance of balance,” said Michael Slevin, the owner and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties. “The last two years were as unique a time in real estate as any I’ve ever experienced.”
The slowdown in transactions is significant — a nearly 30% drop from 2021 through Nov. 30.
On the other hand, the number of transactions through November virtually matches those for the same period in 2019.
That’s the last year before the pandemic, and there seems to be something of a return to those conditions.
Town of Vail asks STR license holders to help out
Earlier this month the town of Vail sent out a letter to 230 homeowners and property managers that hold short-term rental licenses in the town, asking them to help provide winter housing for essential employees of the town.
“The town of Vail is urgently seeking additional housing units for essential workers this winter season,” the letter reads. “The Town is asking all second and primary homeowners to consider a long-term or seasonal lease with the Town of Vail for this purpose. We are asking all property managers to forward the message to clients who might be interested in such a lease.”
Russ Forest, Vail’s town manager, said the impetus for the letter was two-fold. First, the town was desperate to fill seven key and important bus driver positions. But officials hoped the email would cast a wider net for the broader business community and essential workers.
Forest said the town sees this an experiment to see if the town could create a “network, potentially connecting anyone with a unit to somebody that needed it in the business community.”
Of the 10 players listed on the varsity roster ahead of Tuesday’s home game with Summit, two were juniors, seven were sophomores and one was a freshman. It’s a far cry from the class of 10 seniors who last season led the Skiers to a perfect 27-0 mark and the Class 3A state championship.