Tony Bouchier replies to my and Jim Donaldson’s letters about the changes in Aspen reminding us that it is the people who make this place great. Goodonya Mr. Bouchier, I couldn’t agree more. It is the people who said no to rampant development and required developers to build affordable housing. These polices allowed the people who work here to actually live here. People who live here invest themselves in this community and the quality of life that we now all enjoy.
Many of these residents gave up “careers” elsewhere so they could be here. They gave up a level of financial prosperity for lifestyle and the community saw to it that they could afford a roof over their head. I believe it is this mix of people that makes Aspen different and great — and greatness is valuable (solace for righties?). The more diverse the mix, the better we get.
We have thousands of affordable housing units in this community and none were built and oriented towards older/retired/empty nesters. None. How short sighted is that? APCHA says we will have over 1,000 “retired” people living in employee housing in the next five years, but what do they want to build? More of the same employee housing. This hurts existing employee housing owners, creates no incentive for these retirees/empty nesters to consider moving out of units designed for families and cost us more money. We have spent 40 years building affordable units for younger people to move “up” into, and made no effort to build units older people in the system might want to move “down” into. I say we can do more and be better for less.
If we can work with the private sector to build units that empty nesters want to move into and subsidize the creation of those new “retiree” units for far less than it costs to build new employee housing we can all win by spreading prosperity, diversity and opportunity with less subsidy.