Crestone Eagle, July 2019
By Tom deMers
Living Wisdom Village, Elders Creating Community (LWV). Sounds good, right? Perhaps you’d like to live there. Then why hasn’t an idea that’s too good to fail blossomed into reality? An affordable community for persons fifty-five and older, eco-friendly and with a meeting room for sharing meals, movies and meetings. Perhaps most important, a village of people who love Crestone and want to stay here, age in place as their lives require more support. For almost two years Crestone Peak Community Housing (CPCH), the umbrella group driving the project, has struggled to find the initial puzzle piece to bring that dream to life: land. Acquiring land in or near the town has proven difficult.
A 2016 market study made clear that an intown site close to services is preferred by the older population LWV would serve. Realtor Vivia Lawson, a former LWV board member, pointed to the town’s small footprint as part of the problem: few lots combined with little turnover means purchase options are limited. CPCH Executive Director Akia Tanara reports that properties have been discussed with fourteen landowners since 2018, and no deals have been struck, often because of issues with wells and water rights. Tanara said many owners simply want to keep their land in the family. The board of directors has expanded their search to county land adjacent to the town with little success, although the search continues.
Others, who did not wish to be named, suggested that inflexible zoning regulations were restricting growth. Some went further to argue that Crestone had an anti-development mindset and wanted to remain “the little town that time forgot.”
Kirsten Schreiber chairs the board of CPCH. She is frustrated with the lack of progress but leads with optimism. “Each experience brings us more clarity,” she says; “Every no is one step closer to a yes.” Looking beyond the board’s current situation, she trusts in the importance of the Living Wisdom idea. She is sure it will happen when the time is right. Her faith in the future will be borne out on July 20 when Dance Alive! comes to the Cloud Station. This event, hosted by DJ B Hoep, will raise funds for LWH.
Clearly numerous factors have combined to prevent an idea that many favor from becoming a reality. Of course, we are talking about “enlightenment town” where “numinous” factors may also be in play. Perhaps the spirits up on Paranormal Way have put a hex on development, preferring cremation to creation. Who can say? Put living wisdom in your prayers, make the village one of the beads in your mala. And stay tuned.
Full disclosure: the author of this article is a CPCH board member.