Steve Aigner, shown here in the Steamboat Pilot & Today offices on Tuesday morning, recently was tapped to succeed Maggie Berglund as community organizer of the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley.

Photo by Brian Ray

Steve Aigner, shown here in the Steamboat Pilot & Today offices on Tuesday morning, recently was tapped to succeed Maggie Berglund as community organizer of the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley.

Steve Aigner to lead Community Alliance

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Building bridges

Steve Aigner was recently hired as the new community organizer for Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley.

Steve Aigner was recently hired as the new community organizer for Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley.

— Steve Aigner believes there are plenty of gifted people in Routt County willing to share their talents and opinions. Now, if he can just get them to lend an ear.

"For Steamboat to be sustainable, we have to work to build bridges between differences," said Aigner, who was recently tapped to succeed Maggie Berglund as community organizer of the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley. "There are a lot of strong personalities and strong opinions, and people are very good at voicing those opinions. I think we need to listen more carefully so we can discern what we share with each other."

The Community Alliance is part of Western Colorado Congress, an organization that, in its own words, strives "to create healthy, sustainable communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship and a truly democratic society." As community organizer, it is Aigner's charge to rally Yampa Valley residents around those values.

It won't be a foreign line of work for Aigner, who has a doctorate in sociology, a master's degree in community practice and related professional experience. Aigner worked with white Detroit suburbanites to address institutional racism there, and he taught community development as a professor at Iowa State University.

Aigner was most recently a member of the Community Alliance's board of directors. As that body was writing a job description for Berglund's replacement, Aigner realized he was a good fit for the job.

"We're really excited to have Steve on board," said Mark Schofield, director of organizing for Western Colorado Congress. "He has just an incredible background in terms of understanding the value of community organizing. He has tremendous experience organizing people to effect change in their communities. : Steve turned out to be a real logical choice."

Aigner, 63, retired to Steamboat Springs, following all three of his grown children, who moved here after falling in love with the community on family vacations. While the Yampa Valley is a far cry from Ames, Iowa - not to mention Detroit - Aigner said he is comfortable addressing the unique issues facing this community.

"I've worked with all types in my life," Aigner said. "I feel comfortable with almost all kinds of issues and all kinds of people. That's the good thing about being old. You've seen a lot."

While much of his retirement in Steamboat has been spent golfing and skiing, Aigner also has served on a committee for Vision 2030 and the citizen's committee that helped form the city's watershed protection ordinance. In his new role with the Community Alliance, Aigner will concentrate much of his efforts on Steamboat 700, the proposed development west of Steamboat that could be annexed into city limits and provide a site for about 2,000 homes, plus commercial space, parks and urban amenities.

"For the foreseeable future : our primary focus will be on Steamboat 700 and its potential to fulfill the expectations that almost everyone has," Aigner said. "There are a lot of balls in the air, and they need to be nailed down in a pre-annexation agreement. : We're here to help the City Council focus on that responsibility."

Although Steamboat 700 will be a major focus, Aigner said he won't neglect areas of Routt County outside of Steamboat Springs.

"The job of the organizer is to get out and about and connect with people," Aigner said. "The whole valley needs to be integrated to reach the mission" of the Community Alliance.

Comments

letomayo 6 years, 2 months ago

well how successful was his efforts in Detroit and Ames IA? I didn't see any thing that says waht his record was and how he can be so helpful to our town. Is he another wanna be club member of the town folks who want to run our town? One thing he did say was to listen more and about the strong opinions. We have rich people and snobs who want to tell the rest of what to do and what is right and what they think and if you think something else they look down there noses at you. If he can help them shut up and listen to the rest of us for awhile that would be good.

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Lovesteamboat 6 years, 2 months ago

Thank You, Steve, for your proactive efforts in our community, as we experience such massive change on all fronts.

I've met Steve, and his experience and intentions are extremely impressive.

It's easy for people to have opinions one how our community is changing.

What's hard is for people to step up, get involved, take action, and make a positive contribution.

At a minimum, we all need to take the time to contribute our opinions to the Vision 2030 program. Everyone can be heard in this forum.

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 2 months ago

Well if you need any proof that people just make comments without reading articles read what Skierman just wrote.

Aigner worked with white Detroit suburbanites to address institutional racism there, and he taught community development as a professor at Iowa State University.

Aigner was most recently a member of the Community Alliance's board of directors. As that body was writing a job description for Berglund's replacement, Aigner realized he was a good fit for the job.

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SKIERMAN 6 years, 2 months ago

It is interesting to note that dissenting opinions appear to be the ones that have been removed. Yes, COLORADONATIVE, the article was read in detail. The fact that an academic exercise was performed in Detroit is relatively meaningless without knowing the results and its impact upon the city of Detroit. Further, being a sociology professor at an institution of higher learning, does not in itself make one an "EXPERT".

Without question, someone or some organization needs to get a handle on the rampant growth in Steamboat Springs and environs. I have no problem with that. What concerns me is the choice of a "new kid" on the block and an academician to lead the effort. How about someone with "Real World" experience. Surely, someone in Steamboat could fill that requirement. As I said before, Good Luck.

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