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Summit Sometimes

JASON STARR

Jerry Stewart receives periodic e-mail newsletters from Vail Resorts about what’s going on in Colorado’s High Country. On Thursday, Vail sent a picture of a fresh blanket of snow covering the mountains. It was 80 degrees and humid that day in Stewart’s hometown of Wheaton, Ill. “I thought ‘ooh, that looks nice,'” he said.The snow stoked the souls not only of locals, but also of those who are part-time locals, like Stewart, who owns a home at Trail’s End in Breckenridge.The Stewart family has been coming to Breckenridge since the early 1980s. They bought a place in ’87 and now spend about three weeks each year there.

Despite the limitations on the amount of time they can spend in Breckenridge (although when they retire, they plan to spend a lot more time there), the Stewarts are still very involved in the goings on in Summit County.Jerry is treasurer of the board of the Trails End Homeowners Association, and he reads every issue of the Summit County Journal cover to cover. He is also a Rotary Club member and attends the local meetings when he is in town.Despite being in Breckenridge less than one month each year, Stewart considers himself a stakeholder in the community.”It’s important that the community be successful,” he said. “We didn’t buy the unit as an investment but that doesn’t mean it didn’t become one. We feel that having the community be successful makes the property where we are successful. So I have an interest in watching what goes on and seeing what’s going on in the community.”

Since you can’t vote here, how do you maintain a say in what goes on?Through our (homeowners association) there’s some input that we can have in the town. I can write letters, which we have done from time to time. I think the town listens, even though you may not have a political vote. There’s a lot of people like us who own property out there but don’t live there. And unless the area is viable, and unless the towns are in good condition financially, and unless they keep the infrastructure of the towns in good shape, everybody that owns property out there is going to suffer and that’s why it’s important.Why did you originally consider Breckenridge?

We loved the area, loved the fact that there was actually a town there instead of just a ski resort. And it’s a family oriented environment, in the summer and winter, which we like a lot.Did you buy the place as an investment?We never really approached it as an investment. It turned out to be an excellent investment, but we approached it as, ‘if we were going to come out in the winter and ski, why not just have a small place of our own to go to,’ which is how we started.Will you ever spend more time here?We thought eventually we might move out there. I don’t think we ever will because our grandkids are back here. But that doesn’t mean we won’t spend more time. I can see us spending a month out there in the summer and winter, and maybe going out for a couple of weeks in the fall too.


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