Worker housing a good fit for Cooper Ave location |

Worker housing a good fit for Cooper Ave location

Earlier this year I was hoping that the HPC would both preserve Su Lum’s modest miner’s cabin and approve affordable housing on this East Cooper site. It is important to pay attention to the smaller residences of the 19th century, as we are reminded how the hard rock miners lived, as well as the silver barons.

It is important not to have all of our affordable housing built ensemble in the same, predictable locations. It is profound that in addition to sites like the Airport Business Center, we scatter clusters of affordable housing throughout the community. It adds to our town’s character. It is part of Aspen’s eclectic history that we find rich and poor, young folks and old, new comers and long time residents all living near one another.

It is always reassuring to have developers build affordable housing, instead of their paying cash in lieu into the APCHA fund, and leaving the construction up to the city. I was impressed that this project met all the city’s tough building requirements, including the historic preservation emphasis on details and our demanding, yet important, land use codes for new affordable housing.

With almost a half dozen multi-family buildings virtually next door and across the street from this East Cooper site, this proposed project would add to the vitality and character of this particular neighborhood. The restored Su Lum house will be moved forward and still be a ”gift to the streets.” For example, Peter Fornell recently built a great affordable housing project on West Main near the Mesa Store Bakery, which featured a preserved historic miner’s cabin as the center piece.

Aspen is unique among ski resort towns, as we still have almost 40% of our work force living in town. This did not happen by accident, but by design. The need for affordable house will always be great. Please be open to reconsidering this unique, important project, and what a perfect mix, affordable housing and historic preservation? This proposal would have been right up Su Lum’s alley, literally.

Bill Stirling


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