Loss and hope

Loss is never easy. I lost a good dog friend this week. Best friends with our dog Mojo, Lulu was a happy soul that brought a smile to people’s faces including mine for 12 years. It’s never easy to lose a dog friend.

Going into work Monday, the inbox had more than a few letters and tributes about local businesses closing up shop. I ran into other people moving on from their longtime businesses. The Steep, the Brick, the Tobacconist all say farewell to CB this week, as does the Avalanche in Mt. CB. More loss of the old CB as we turn another corner into a new CB. No one can definitively tell you what that means. I keep hearing Mark Walter is a nice guy that doesn’t want to change the place and I have no reason to think otherwise…but I see my property taxes continuing to climb in part because of his purchase actions. 

I got an email from a friend with a link to the Aspen Times that had an article about Tommy Hilfiger buying a big house for $31 million in December and reselling it in less than three months for something like $50 million. It takes big money to make big money and while CB is not there yet, we’re not where we were. Not long ago the jump in price for a house or piece of land from say $300,000 to $650,000 meant something. That jump might have been the make or break point for a working local couple. I don’t think a home price going from $1.6M to $2.4M or $31M to $50M pushes out the same people or makes a significant difference in the worker demographics of the place we say we want to maintain. 

Loss is never easy but life goes on. The idea of hope says that something good will eventually replace the Steep and the Brick. I’ll soon feel less sad about Lulu and more happy to have known her. Property prices in CB will continue to go up and the wealth disparity will create loss in the valley, but many here are still finding ways to keep it real. 

The hard, thoughtful effort is underway on a number of fronts to try to maintain a broad economic community. Every local government entity is working on an affordable housing idea and that’s important. Nurturing a variety of ideas is valuable work and that is where there is still promise in maintaining the core of what makes this valley unique. Finding ways to integrate community and not just have separate islands of the haves and have nots is imperative for our future as a deep community. That is my hope at the moment. 

The best news right now might be that the change of seasons is upon us. It is traditionally the testing time and a time to see who wants to bond and who can’t take the May blizzard and has to flee. Off-season is close, and for me anyway, that is something I hope we never lose. Enjoy the final weekend of the ski season.

—Mark Reaman

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