APR Local News
11:39 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

City Council Creates New Commission On Keeping Young Residents

Aspen City Council often hears from local groups on issues about zoning or preservation. Now, leaders will also focus on the concerns of a specific age group: Aspenites under forty. Councilors approved the Next Generation Commission at a meeting on Monday, January 27th. The main idea is to figure out what issues are most important to residents between eighteen and forty… and how to best tackle them.

Reporter: The Aspen City Council is currently advised by a dozen commissions dedicated to all manner of interests. For the first time this advice will come from a specific age cohort.  Skippy Mesirow [MEZ-zere-row] is Chair of the Commission. He says the goal is to talk with City Council about what effects their decisions could have for young folks.

Skippy Mesirow: “City Council maybe is looking at affordable housing choices. They may come to us and say we’d like to know how various decisions we make will impact your demographic. We can then go out and work with existing groups. We can use survey data, we can use a plethora of tools, and then advise them on how they might move forward.”

Reporter: Mesirow spoke recently on Aspen Public Radio’s Cross Currents. The Commission has seven members--  and Mesirow says while other groups have members under forty years old, the idea here is to concentrate that youthful energy. The seeds for the Commission were sown some time ago, but flowered during lunch meetings last spring. Members ran a survey earlier this month, hoping to figure out what the top issues are facing folks under forty.

Mesirow: “And if, for example ninety percent of people say it’s child care or housing or it’s whatever, then we have some real data to go to the people who make the decisions and say this is perhaps something that perhaps we should be looking at.”

Reporter: Preliminary results show there are several key factors-- with the overall trend being that survey participants want to live and work in Aspen but those issues get in the way. More formal results are expected in a few weeks.