Opinion | Kelly Owens: Attainable housing and child care top list of concerns
Breckenridge Town Council candidate
- Occupation: mom
- Years in Summit County: 12
- Family: Husband, Reed; children Oskar, 7, Wiley, 5, and Ruby, 2
- Civic involvement: Little Red Schoolhouse board since 2014, Summit County Planning Commission since 2015, Breckenridge Town Council since 2019
As a current member of Breckenridge Town Council, it has been my job to work with staff and my colleagues on council to help the Town meet the vision and goals set forth by the community. I’m proud of our accomplishments and excited to continue seeing them forward.
The town’s Destination Management Plan provides us with a solid framework for preserving our authenticity and livability while managing the impacts of a thriving economy and increasing visitation.
I support the goals set out in the plan, including meeting the needs of our residents first and foremost while providing a quality experience for our visitors and being more strategic about our events. I also support the plan’s vision of offering more opportunities for our workforce to live here.
Advocating for a vision that encourages a local workforce, sustainability and livability requires supporting projects that address housing and child care programs. I understand the contribution local workers and their families make to a thriving community and destination. That’s why it will be my priority to build upon the goals and vision set by our community in this plan.
During my time on Town Council, I’ve been especially proud to have been a part of many forward-thinking, local-focused projects, including:
- New net-zero workforce housing near the North Water Plant
- Increased financial support for the town’s buy-down program and Housing Helps
- Support for an extensive review of our child care facilities, capacities and opportunities for growth and expansion
- Adoption of the Climate Action Plan
- Support of the Town’s Sustainable Building code
Some of the goals that will continue to be my priority if elected:
Addressing the housing shortage
My family calls the Wellington Neighborhood home. By living in a close-knit neighborhood of locals, I understand how much attainable housing contributes to a community. It offers locals the ability to work and live in Breckenridge, to play a part in the community, to recreate and support the town economically and culturally, and to raise families — key factors that ensure Breckenridge is a thriving, authentic town. The town’s buy-down program, the Housing Helps program and thoughtful development of high-quality, deed-restricted housing will help further address the shortage. I look forward to working with staff to identify varied types of housing opportunities from micro units and accessory dwelling units, to rentals and more single-family homes.
Enhancing Breck’s child care program
With over 250 kids on the waitlist, families are forced to juggle schedules, enlist help from friends and even bring their kids to work while waiting for a spot. Breckenridge has embarked on a capacity assessment of the existing four facilities to find additional spots for kids over the long term.
In addition, the town has shown its commitment to families and employers through funding the tuition-assistance program. Although this program has successfully reached hundreds of families and benefitted many of our local employers, the fund doesn’t currently have a long-term funding source. I am committed to ensuring this program is maintained into the future.
Our employees are relied upon to provide the highest quality guest experience — an important element to our economy. For some, the lack of available child care forces them to miss work, and high costs require employees to make compromises that impact their ability to contribute to our workforce.
As member of the board at Little Red Schoolhouse, I’m committed to providing the highest quality child care. As a council member, I’m committed to leveraging the tools necessary to get more families access to reliable, high-quality child care.
I am grateful to be a part of a community that is willing to do its part in the climate change battle and proud to work alongside a council that has committed resources to get it done. With my background in environmental science and master’s in biology, I’m the right person to have at the table.
I advocated for Breck’s Sustainable Building code, and I look forward to helping us get to net-zero electricity use by 2035, reduce emissions from building energy by 21%, from transportation by 25% and from waste by 50% — all by 2030.
Being a member of Breckenridge Town Council isn’t easy work — the challenges of a resort town are varied and ongoing. I am confident that my experience as a biologist, my background in land use and recreation, and my successful history of helping offset impacts from development make me the perfect person to be at the table to help face those challenges head-on.
Kelly Owens is one of nine candidates for four open seats on Breckenridge Town Council.
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