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Yes for the future

Dear Editor:The offseason is definitely here and the mall again seems like a ghost town. I look around at Aspen Sports, where I have worked the better part of the last 11 years, and most everyone is gone. Not for the offseason, but gone for good. Our staff this past winter was the most international crew I have ever worked with. Aspen Sports actively recruited around the globe and helped this staff obtain the proper work permits. They were a great crew and now that their permits are up, they have all left. Not a single person who came for this winter is staying for the summer, unlike the adage so many of us often recite. That just doesn’t happen anymore.Aspen has always been a difficult place to find reasonable housing, but the options keep getting fewer and fewer. My first home here was the “Mouse House” shared with five others in the small house and many more in the big house just out our back door. Flophouses like this were all over the West End but are almost nonexistent now.Many of my friends, as well as myself, continue to live and work in Aspen only because we had the opportunity to purchase “affordable housing.” The nature of our jobs is as diverse as Aspen itself and have been well documented in the local media. I believe the subsidies that provided for these housing units were well worth the investment. Without our collective work force, Aspen would not be able to perpetuate its mystique. Aspen’s growth is not what anyone expected or desired. However, because of the type of growth we have experienced, Aspen is stagnating as we continue to lose a younger, more viable work force. Many of us in employee housing are approaching retirement age and see our units as our retirement homes (I know what you’re thinking – make up some new rules so we may be kicked out of our homes of 15, 20 or more years). That means fewer employees will be housed in the current inventory of units, exacerbating the need to bring more workers in from downvalley. For Aspen to continue its first-class status, we must find it in our heart to provide new affordable housing and entice the younger crowd to stay and make their commitment to the future of Aspen. Please vote “yes” for Burlingame.Sue GeistAspen


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