Snowmass agencies prepared to help Aspen amid gas outage |

Snowmass agencies prepared to help Aspen amid gas outage

Village has resources ready and available, town manager says

Community Response Officer Rachel Beck talks to an Aspen resident before giving him a space-heater outside of the Aspen Police Department on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. In Snowmass Village, officials say they have additional resources available to the Aspen community if the need arises. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Several Snowmass Village police officers are part of a county-wide effort to manage a gas outage that impacted much of Aspen early this week, according to Snowmass Police Chief Brian Olson.

“I’ve got a couple officers working with the (Pitkin County Incident Management Team),” Olson said. “We’ll follow along with whatever action is required by them.”

The town of Snowmass Village was unaffected by a gas outage that impacted much of Aspen on Dec. 28 and 29; Olson said he doesn’t anticipate any specific actions from the town’s police department as a “solo agency.”

“Snowmass won’t operate by (itself),” Olson said. “We’re still participating as a valley-wide group” with other agencies in Aspen and Basalt as part of the Incident Management Team.

Olson said the department has not heard any concerns from the Snowmass community that a similar event could impact the town; because Snowmass Village still has natural gas, he says the area is ready and available to provide assistance and lodging to those in need.

The county has the ability to foot the bill for those rooms, offering $200 per night to hotels that provide emergency shelter as the need arises, according to an email forwarded to lodging venues from Laryssa Dandeneau, the interim planning, prevention and partnerships manager for the county.

A handful of hotels in Aspen and Snowmass have indicated an interest in participating in that program, including the Westin Snowmass and Limelight Snowmass, said Lindsay Maisch, the county’s deputy director of human services. Maisch did not have an estimate for how many residents have requested accommodations but said the number is “growing” as more realize it may be a while before heat returns.

Destination Residences Snowmass, which includes the Stonebridge Inn, also is likely to participate, according to the company’s director of marketing Kirstin Guinn.

The town has additional resources to use as warming stations waiting in the wings if needed, according to Town Manager Clint Kinney. But so far, “we haven’t been asked for much,” Kinney said.

“We’ve offered the gym, we’ve offered buses, we’ve put all our resources out there,” Kinney said, “We are here to help.”

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