Raised at the ABC | AspenTimes.com

Raised at the ABC

Trent Burkholder outside the building where he grew up at the Aspen Business Center. (Mark Fox/Aspen TImes Weekly)

The Aspen Business Center, for most, is a mishmash of businesses where you can get your car repaired or eat a hot meal, and a lot of other activities in between.But for some, it is home, and has been for a long time.

Trent Burkholder grew up in an apartment above the Aspen Animal Hospital, which was built by Trent’s dad, Craton Burkholder, in the early 1970s when Trent was only 1 year old.”At that point, there was maybe three or four buildings,” he recalled of his first impressions. “The rest was just sagebrush.”He not only was raised at the ABC, he also lives there now. He returned from his college years and works at the SlideMaster processing shop, also in the Business Center. He had hoped to buy a home at the nearby North 40 subdivision, but found prices there “a little steep for my wallet.” Burkholder, 36, is married to a former student at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and they are expecting their first baby. He enjoys the old neighborhood where he and his younger sister, Trevi, used to play. He recalled that, at first, there weren’t many other kids to pal around with, but the numbers grew as the years passed and more homes were built.

“It was a pretty fun place to live as a kid, messing around with your friends,” he said, recalling that one of his friend’s dad had a collection of mini-bikes and ATVs with which the kids used to tear around the vacant land along Deer Hill to the east and the Paepcke Ranch to the west. He recalls seeing deer, elk and even the occasional bear.His group of friends coalesced into a gang of sorts, as did kids in other neighborhoods.”To a certain extent in town, you had your Mountain Valley clan, your Cemetery Lane clan, your ABC clan,” he said. Kids would get into minor trouble, he said with a grin, but nothing serious.They would build snow forts in the winters and treehouses in the summer. They joined the Aspenauts, a skiing program for young kids, and took the bus to school (he graduated from Aspen High in 1987). By the time he was 12 or so, there was a bike trail from the ABC into town, and he could easily ride into Aspen. Some buildings were off-limits to the young marauders, such as the Mountain Bell facility, “but pretty much the other stuff you could run around.”

And here he is again, with his wife, Preethi, about to raise a family of his own. They sold their car a couple of years ago, and now they either take buses or use the Roaring Fork Vehicles car-sharing program to get around.”I guess I’m kind of doing what John McBride wanted … working and living in the ABC, so it’s all self-contained,” he mused. As far as Burkholder is concerned, McBride has “done a pretty good job” at creating a community.

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