My name is Lori Gillen and I’ve lived in Littleton since 1966. So many changes have happened here in those five decades and I believe that a city must continually evolve to best serve its residents and to use it’s resources wisely. This planning commission is one of the city groups that does this work and so I thank you all for your service and leadership.

I’ve worked in Aspen Grove for six years and I would like to share my experience to help everyone in this room understand why it is such a great place to work.

  • It’s very close to my home. I live in Southbridge
  • I feel safe
  • It is beautiful and clean, with open green spaces, lots of lighting and amazing landscaping
  • There is access to the light rail to move into the city
  • There is access to South Platte Park for walking and biking to and from Aspen Grove
  • There is a camaraderie among the employees that work in the center that is led by the Aspen Grove management team as well as a feeling of being connected to some Littleton institutions, for example: Arapahoe Community College used a spaced for it’s student art show and Town Hall Arts Center uses one of the vacant stores for a rehearsal space

I’d also like to share some of the things that our customers tell us about Aspen Grove that makes it a great place to shop:

  • It is easy to get in and out of, the parking is free and plentiful
  • it is dog friendly
  • they like the events that are hosted and come specifically for things like the Farmers Market, Paris Street Market, yoga and swing dancing
  • they are also aware of and supportive of the community partnerships

Despite all of these great things that AG management has created, the reality is that storefronts remain empty because the retail industry is forever changed. Even before the pandemic, there was a shift to online shopping and home delivery and then COVID just accelerated the downsizing and closing of many retailers like Christopher Banks, Origins, and even the Starbucks at AG. Staffing remains a huge issue for every business. Aspen Grove will never return to the way that it was when it was originally built, so it means that the time to reallocate these resources is here and now.

The current proposal to add residential units to the property is a great opportunity to do that. AG is already surrounded by residential properties on the north and west, which makes it feel like a mixed use property already and to add apartments on the actual property just makes it more usable and accessible for more residents

All of the great things that make Aspen Grove a great place to work and shop and gather will also make it a great place to live. I urge you to approve the AG proposal so that we can keep the best parts of AG and add some much needed housing to our city to continue our evolution.

Thanks for the opportunity to speak.

Watch Lori’s full speech on Youtube >