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Aspenites Say City Is Safe But Give Low Marks For Affordability

Dec 12, 2019

The City of Aspen's latest citizen survey found satisfaction with safety and the environment, but room for improvement with affordability.
Credit Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The City of Aspen released the results of its latest citizen survey this week. The annual questionnaire measures resident attitudes about living in Aspen and the city’s government.

Overall, respondents gave the city high marks in categories such as safety and protecting the environment, but were dissatisfied with livability.

Only 6% of those surveyed agreed with the statement “young families can afford to live and work here.” 20% were satisfied with the current rate of affordable residential development in Aspen.

Only 15% of respondents agreed that community needs are sufficiently met by local businesses.

“That's a topic that is really difficult to deal with in this resort,” said Karen Harrington, the city’s director of quality, “because the rents are so high that it tends to drive out locally-serving businesses.”

Harrington says the city is still working on ways to keep those kinds of businesses in Aspen.

“In the past there's been more of an emphasis on regulation,” Harrington said, “and I think that there's interest now in looking more at incentives.”

While resident's attitudes toward business and development indicated room for improvement, the city scored high in other categories. 98% of respondents said they feel safe in Aspen and 84% approved of the quality of public spaces. 

The survey found overwhelmingly positive attitudes towards the quality of the environment. Water quality in rivers and streams received 90% satisfaction, air quality received 84% satisfaction and wildlife habitats received 87% satisfaction.

Harrington says the city has placed a high priority on protecting the air and water in and around Aspen.

“Our engineering department in general tries to look at environmental impacts of their projects but also is heavily involved with things like construction mitigation, keeping dust down, noise down, those kinds of things,” Harrington said

Rates of satisfaction were determined by measuring the percentage of respondents who answered a survey question as four or five on a 1-5 scale. The survey consisted of 528 respondents who were either registered Aspen voters or full-time Aspen Pitkin-County Housing Authority residents.