On the cusp…

We are on the cusp of summer season. It seems too early for whatever reason, but it is what it is. Being on the cusp of anything means change is close and that means you should get prepared. Being on the edge can be exciting or frightening. Exciting is the better choice.

So, being on the cusp of July means we are on the cusp of not being able to easily send texts (check to make sure they got delivered) or having every other call dropped from our cell phones. It means parking in the heart of town will be scarce and trailheads will again be filled with vehicles sporting white license plates. It means it is time to be eating on a newly reconfigured two-way Elk Avenue streetscape and you better watch where and for how long you park your car in town if you don’t want a ticket. Oh, and the parking situation at Clark’s will be an ever-changing art project that is different every day if not every hour. 

Speaking of Clark’s, they are on the cusp of a major renovation project this fall. It sounds like that will result in the grocery store being closed for weeks and maybe months. I can’t wait to see what the new grocery will look like because the Clark’s I’ve been in at other places are really nice. Not that ours isn’t but…

We are on the cusp of monsoon season. Given the slim precipitation of the last several years, we once again need those afternoon rains. I normally think of the monsoon coming in late July through August but like just about everything on the planet, things are happening at different times than in the past. So according to the phone forecast, there is a possibility that monsoon type rains will begin sooner rather than later and that can only help a dire drought and potential wildfire situation.

We are on the cusp of shorter days. That’s right, while summer officially started Tuesday with the solstice, that means the days will begin to incrementally get shorter. That is hard to believe but that’s how it works. It really won’t be noticeable at first as about two minutes of daylight per day will disappear into morning darkness. The days themselves will continue to heat up and we will be able to sit outside on the deck well into the twilight. The weird thing about that now compared to a decade ago is that you may not always need to put on a fleece when the sun goes down. That puts us on the cusp of more signs that the globe is warming. Let me take this time to say sorry to my unborn grandkids.

We are on the cusp of having a significant makeover of the local restaurant scene. See page 1. Two primary commercial real estate buyers, Mark Walter and Jeff Hermanson, have picked up many of the traditional CB restaurant spaces so more than a few of the stalwarts we have grown comfortable with the last 20 years are gone. Hermanson is putting a BBQ joint downtown so that will be different. The Walter group looks to be providing open space at places like the old Brick and Forest Queen so that too will be different. I hear Mark will be coming to town here shortly, so again, if he wants to sit down and chat and share his vision of a revitalized Crested Butte commercial scene, I’m available to help share the news. I know we’re not L.A. or Chicago, but that’s sort of how it works in a small town. We’re here to help.

We’re on the cusp of not having the Post Office in the middle of town. It will be a few years before it is relocated but the discussion is happening now on where to move the facility in the 81224 zip code. In the old days the post office was a place to gather, run into friends, relax and have some passing social contact while catching up with neighbors. If you haven’t noticed, it’s not the old days anymore. Now the socialization is forced through long lines given the lack of USPS staff in CB. The staff that is there is working their tails off and I’ve seen nothing but dedication and courtesy but the numbers are the numbers and as the number of people looking for a growing number of packages grows, there are simply not enough numbers behind the counter. 

So really, it’s not ultimately just about a bigger, more comfortable building, it’s about shoring up the staff to make everything that much smoother. Given the constant lines and bitching about having to pay for a post office box when being denied home delivery, it feels like this situation is on the cusp of blowing up even more. I gave up my downtown PO box after more than three decades and I must admit, I do not miss it. I really don’t miss the annual fee that was reaching the $100 mark.

We are on the cusp of Crested Butte putting in a significant workforce housing project. The Sixth and Butte/Paradise Park process continues moving and because as I’ve said before, there is no magic wand that can pop up a new rental building next week, the hard grind of putting the pieces together is continuing. The grind will eventually produce housing. Construction is at least a year off with Paradise Park but new homes for local workers should be available in less than two years. 

Ideas are still being brainstormed and the second homeowner community is putting in the effort (and early money) to help out the local housing situation. Kudos. Hopefully those initiatives get some traction and the part-time residents find a comfort zone to help them make the overall working situation better for everyone. It appears that could happen in the next couple of months through opportunities like the Valley Housing Fund’s Redden workforce housing project due to come online this fall or the Sixth and Butte housing project that will be a year later. Whether it is helping to fund units to avoid federal income restrictions and allow more local flexibility or the new idea of helping to provide down payment assistance for local families, there is opportunity at a variety of scales. I understand there is a scheduled gathering for second homeowners next week to discuss the ideas and we trust there will be some tangible outcomes as a result.

Being on the cusp of anything can be exciting. It means change is close and anticipation for new things lie ahead. It will soon get crowded and the bank account should refill. July/August is a sacrifice zone but one that allows living here during the sweet times. There will be new restaurants, a new post office, a new grocery store, new housing opportunities for workers relatively soon. Change is rarely easy but being on the cusp is often exciting. Get ready for exciting on a number of fronts as we head into July. And remember to check your texts.

—Mark Reaman

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