McBride: Great thinking and good luck
Laurie and I moved to Aspen in 1966. At that time, it was a wonderful small town. Whether you were a long-time local or a visitor, everyone knew everyone and all were treated as equals. All shared and revered a special place.
Alas, as time moved on, the haves took over, and now so many local workers live 20, 30, 60 miles away or if still in the area, in dense housing projects.
Councilman Skippy Mesirow has a wonderful idea of how to re-establish the balanced community of old. By incentivizing second-home owners to incorporate local workers and their families into their properties, he is proposing a way to bring back the balance and wonder the community once had, where everyone lived and shared alike in our town.
The absurd new construction cost of dense employee housing like the Lumberyard project wouldn’t be necessary. Perhaps some the those dollars could be used to modify second homes to create apartment/ADUs within an existing house. That would probably be cheaper and a better way than the Lumberyard site. After all, no second-home owner would ever build at the Lumberyard site next to Highway 82 and the take-off end of the runway.
So, Skippy’s idea of integrating housing units for locals into mostly empty second homes is an excellent idea. It would help re-establish the real town and community Aspen once enjoyed and would eliminate a lot of wasteful commuting 20, 30, 60 miles downvalley.
In other words, it would help restore the wonderous place Aspen once was and that we old timers revered so much.
Skippy, your idea is about so much more than housing. You have envisioned and introduced and idea of how to restore the marvelous character of old Aspen itself by finding ways and incentives to integrate local employees back into the community. Great thinking and good luck.