Mullins: Can we land a community partner?
The recent shortlisting of three potential FBOs for the Aspen Airport out of the original seven RFP respondents coincided with several important community events focused on maintaining a healthy and resilient community.
The Regional Housing Summit, organized by Habitat for Humanity, re-affirmed the dire need for housing in the valley, along with presenting some solutions while empathizing the need for partnerships whether non-profit or corporate.
Paul Anderson’s screening of High Country a film about Crested Butte fighting to maintain its character under great economic pressure in the ’60s and ’70s posed the question simply as: If you don’t take care of a place, will you risk losing it forever?
As the Board of County Commissioners gets closer to deciding on an FBO for the next 30 years, what is the corporate responsibility to the community aside from to “develop, construct, operate, maintain, and manage first-class, state-of-the-art FBO facilities and services at the airport,” as started in the RFP?
Recently, we have seen examples of community accountability from some of our largest and oldest organizations. Aspen Skiing Co. has built affordable housing, dedicating some units to child-care workers. Colorado Mountain College is working on affordable housing, solar energy arrays, and a childcare facility. RFTA has bought an older lodge to convert to employee housing.
When selecting one of these large aviation companies for this lucrative contract, part of the criteria should be ‘What is the company giving back to the community?’ – whether benefiting the environment, providing housing and/or childcare, enhancing transit, or maintaining community character.
Pitkin County is offering a great opportunity to its next FBO, and in return, we should be asking for the best response to community concerns and priorities. Aspen deserves a group that will go above and beyond the norm and partner with us to support and maintain this community.