The disappearing cheap little place to live in Summit County |

The disappearing cheap little place to live in Summit County

TARA FLANAGANspecial to the daily
Tara Flanagan, columnist

None of us should be too terribly surprised that Frisco’s 8th Avenue cabins are due to become a firefighting exercise next week. Weather permitting, the cluster of miniscule houses will be no more. I’m a bit sad about it, but hey – it goes like that.Truth be known, I’ve been wondering about the cabins’ projected lifespan since I moved here six years ago from Eagle County, where just about every speck of privately owned land has seen a bulldozer at least twice. I see gatherings of old, little, free-standing dwellings where people appear to be living cheaper than anyone else, and I can’t help but wonder when the gig’s going to be up. That said, I cannot be too terribly anti-development. I live in a so-called development in Breckenridge; so do many of my friends. I also have lived in small, relatively crude cabins whose existence was threatened by newer ideas (although one of them survived the wave and now has a hot tub and BMW in its front yard).

As much as I embraced the spirit of frontier living back then (i.e., not knowing how long it would take the wood stove to thaw the frost off the walls, and not having the bucks/smarts to buy anything but really green aspen for firewood), I do relish my central heating and can’t say enough about hot water heaters. As for the Frisco cabins, the buyers paid a fair price for the land, the 50-year-old structures have been getting tough to maintain, and at some point it makes sense to move on with What Comes Next. With integrity and imagination, What Comes Next can be better than What Was.I would like to see, though, where the cabin dwellers end up a year from now. Will they find what they believe to be reasonable digs here in Summit, or will they move down the hill to Denver or Tulsa or Mom and Dad’s house? For the sake of community, I hope it’s the former.Continuing the theme of relatively cheap, old places to live that won’t be that way forever, let’s move down Highway 9 to Breckenridge, where we’ve got a different story. The town has entertained several ideas pertaining to the decaying trailer park across from the 7-Eleven, but for the lack of a redevelopment proposal that tickles Breckenridge’s fancy, the trailers have won out by default.

I’m guessing that this lost corner of Paradise may well be the least appealing place to live in Summit County, but whenever I make such a proclamation, someone always reminds me of how truly off base I am. Still, I would venture a strong guess that the Frisco cabins, even as they are stripped down for next week’s blaze, are in better shape than most of the aforementioned trailers, where people have been known to go without hot water (this can be a function of tenants not paying bills) – or water at all. The place looks a little more rotten every month, especially with the snow giving way to random piles of debris around the trailers. Some of the trailer dwellers say they’re staying put for the summer, in the name of having a cheap roof over their heads. Others have plans to pitch a tent elsewhere in Summit County for the warmer months, in the name of a yet-cheaper way of life. It should be an interesting year for Summit’s camping population, however, as I hear the Forest Service is getting tougher about drawing the line between “residents” and “visitors.” It makes me sad to think that some of our county’s residents might come to the point where they really, truly do not have a place to sleep here, but as I said before, it goes like that – for good, bad or in between.

(Still, aren’t some of the gas and oil companies that are drilling on our public lands long-term campers?)I digress. That little piece of Frisco is going to look bare and strange while we wait for What’s Next. That said, 75 years from now, those of us who stay on will be looking at What’s Next After This. Tara Flanagan writes a bi-weekly column on Wednesdays. She can be contacted at

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