Mel Blumenthal
Columnist
Snowmass Village, CO, Colorado

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March 26, 2013
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Mel Blumenthal: Entryway needs finished now

While in the process of packing for a week-long family excursion to the Club Med resort in Ixtapa, Mexico, with all our kids and grandkids to celebrate Paulette's 70th, I was working up a discussion topic for this week's column that would cause us to reflect on an area of the Village that we pass through on a daily basis but haven't spent much time discussing in recent years.

I'm referring to that ragtag riparian habitat adjacent to the dirt parking lot that occupies the entry to our village.

There are two major infrastructure projects left to complete in the Village. Obviously, completion of our commercial and resort core centered in and around Base Village is one of those projects; however, we are at the mercy of Related as to how and when that one progresses. Other than a few carrots and sticks that the town can hold out to Related, there is not a lot that we can do to influence its plans and timetable at this point. That is particularly in light of our town attorney's oft repeated admonition to our town staff and council not to take any preemptive or aggressive action for fear of the town becoming liable for significant penalties to Related based on his reading of a court case involving a development project in Mammoth, Calif.

As to the completion of this project, we'll just have to wait until the folks at Related are good and ready to open their kimono. But as to the second, we are in total control and only have ourselves to deal with.

Over the years we have spent millions of dollars from Highway 82 all the way up to our entryway to preserve and beautify the ride up to our little piece of paradise. Millions of dollars were spent to acquire and preserve the pristine nature of the Droste and Seven Star properties, to underground unsightly powerlines and hide the electric substation behind an attractive façade at the entrance to our town cemetery, to build a 3-mile bike path, a state-of-the-art recreation center, baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts, a skateboard park and a transportation and information center along with the revamped and beautified golf course at the Snowmass Club.

All of this work and money were expended, but the project has never been complete. What we now have is a beautiful ride up from Highway 82 that ends with an ugly entryway adjacent to the Brush Creek/Highline Road roundabout.

There are no outside forces or developers that we are waiting on for the completion of the entryway. It's just us who need to move expeditiously to complete the work. For some reason, the town has been dragging its feet on this item for many years. There's no lack of creative ideas for the redevelopment of this area. Several citizens, and even an architect or two, already have created concepts that incorporate a functional and attractive entryway including a multi-use arena for summer, fall and winter programming and events, along with completed landscaping that would cap off the beautification of our town entrance.

And best of all, there should be no excuse for not proceeding expeditiously because there is plenty of seed money available for planning as part of the Holy Cross Community Enhancement Fund, which has been sitting in the town's bank account for some time and will, by the end of this year, total $729,831 with about $85,000 added to the pot each year by Holy Cross Energy. Holy Cross has put specific limits on how this money can be used, but completion of our entryway clearly comes within the terms of permitted uses of those funds.

If you're as disgusted as I am every time you enter the Village with the unsavory view of the incomplete entrance, let our elected representatives know you want them to move forward on completing this project without further delay. They should appoint a task force of interested parties and begin the brainstorming right away.

Your feedback on this subject can be forwarded to me at secondview@earthlink.net.


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The Aspen Times Updated Mar 26, 2013 05:33PM Published Mar 26, 2013 05:31PM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.