Community, connectivity, resiliency: Town Council members weigh in on the big picture
Council likely to finalize goal statement next week
Throughout weeks of discussion and goal-setting sessions, the Snowmass Village Town Council has shaped, tweaked and adapted a list of strategic initiatives that embody what the town hopes to accomplish over the next two years.
But despite a particularly unusual 2020 and the uncertainty of what 2021 will look like after a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the town’s wide-reaching goals aren’t all that different from years past. (Council updates its goals every two years after the regular town election cycle.)
“I think one of the things we learned from going through the process in the last few weeks is that our goals haven’t really changed that much,” Mayor Bill Madsen said.
A few recurring themes emerge from the goal statement and interviews with council members: think community, connectivity and resiliency (and, of course, workforce housing). In this month’s Town Talk, we checked in with the five members of town council to get the wide-angle view on those themes as the group prepares finalize their goals.
With COVID-19 still top of mind in the local community, resiliency — both environmental and economic — is key.
“We all look at that resiliency differently than we did before COVID,” Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk said. “I think we’re really going to have to see what we can do to make sure that these businesses survive and that we keep the village vibrant. … I think that’s probably a big thing on people’s minds.”
The long-range view of COVID-19’s impacts on the community and the town’s approach to bouncing back isn’t quite clear yet, Councilman Tom Goode said.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” Goode said. “My main focus, as far as council goes, is basically to think about the community — and what’s the community doing here, I mean, right now? Will they go back to themselves? Will they go back to … whatever lifestyle they had? … You can see that they want to get back to a normal life.”
That rebound from the pandemic — along with “community character” — will act as a lens through which Councilman Bob Sirkus looks at upcoming agenda items, he said.
“We’ve got to rebuild the economy of the town,” Sirkus said. “I very much feel that we need to do our best to maintain the character of the community while still allowing for the community to grow.”
Aside from COVID-19 recovery efforts unique to this year’s mindset, connectivity and workforce housing remain prominent areas of focus for council. Those themes could take a lot of different forms — new trails, transit infrastructure and pedestrian walkways all fall under the connectivity umbrella; expanding the town’s workforce housing could take on any number of different iterations.
With growth in mind, maintaining the heart of Snowmass Village while allowing the town to adapt is a throughline in the latest draft of the goal statement and its strategic initiatives.
“I’m always an advocate for (considering) ’How can we achieve these things without destroying our special unique character of this little village?’ It’s a difficult balance,” Councilman Tom Fridstein said. “We just have to be really smart and really careful, and that’s what makes Snowmass Village special — it’s because we have people who are smart and careful and care in the town, in the town government, living here.”
A lot of that community character is embodied in the town values — a string of adjectives identified by Town Council and established in the goal statement that captures the essence of Snowmass Village
“We want to make sure that Snowmass Village is fun, you know, it’s community focused, family-friendly, thriving, charming, resilient, safe, emotionally connected, nimble, adaptable, balanced and unique,” Madsen said. “I think balanced is one of the key words in that because we’re all in this together.”
Have a question you want answered in our monthly Town Talk series? Email Kaya Williams at email@example.com.
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Operation Smile is making its way back into the Roaring Fork valley through involvement in local schools and a small event this week, according to valley local Jennifer Jones.