Symposium to assess state of the valley | AspenTimes.com

Symposium to assess state of the valley

Aspen Times Staff
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” An annual conference with a reputation for mapping out trends that affect life in the Roaring Fork Valley and ways to solve problems is returning for a fifth year.

A nonprofit organization called Healthy Mountain Communities will hold its State of the Valley Symposium from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. Advance registration is required. The cost is $75 for most guests, $40 for seniors and $20 for students. Registration is available by following the links at http://www.hmcnews.org.

The symposium tends to focus on practical issues affecting the area from Aspen to Parachute rather than worldwide topics.

“No other one-day event covers both the breadth of trends and issues impacting daily life in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valley region while exploring regional and state policy changes necessary to ensure our long-term prosperity,” said Colin Laird, executive director of Healthy Mountain Communities. “For the time-strapped person, we cover a lot of ground in only eight hours.”

Healthy Mountain Communities is dedicated to seeking collaborative solutions to issues facing the Roaring Fork and lower Colorado River valleys. The popular symposium is one of its tools.

Doug Pratte, chairman of the organization’s board of directors, said he hopes this year’s symposium helps shed light on solving the affordable housing shortage. The problem is well-documented; now it’s time to focus on creative solutions that are available, he said.

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One of the featured speakers was recruited to do just that. Charles Perry, a partner in Perry Rose LLC, will discuss how his firm teamed with the Denver Urban Renewal Authority to redevelop the former site of the Elitch Gardens amusement park into a mixed-use community that is a model for smart growth.

Pratte said numerous government and nonprofit organizations are dedicated to conserving land in the Roaring Fork Valley. He would like to see the same size of effort directed at solving affordable housing.

Other featured speakers at the symposium are state Reps. Andrew Romanoff, speaker of the House, and Kathleen Curry, a Democrat who represents the area including the Roaring Fork Valley.

Three presenters will outline trends that are helping shape the Roaring Fork Valley: Jim Westkott, a senior demographer with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs; Chris Jackson, a primary researcher for the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project; and Doug Jeavons, managing director of BBC Research.