Stay Aspen Snowmass can stay | AspenTimes.com

Stay Aspen Snowmass can stay

Janet Urquhart

Stay Aspen Snowmass airline travel consultant Howard Stoner works at his desk in the companys office space in Aspen's Rio Grande parking garage building. The City Council decided Monday not to kick out the reservations agency to make room for government offices. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

Stay Aspen Snowmass can stay put.Loath to kick the reservations agency out of city-owned space next to the Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s offices and visitor center, the City Council agreed to find space elsewhere for employees who won’t fit into crowded City Hall. An offer of close to 1,000 square feet of downtown office space for close to $40,000 a year popped up Monday. In addition, the city expects to regain space it owns at the Zupancis property, next to the county courthouse annex, next August. Between those two options, the city should be able to provide office space to employees without booting Stay Aspen Snowmass from the 1,800 square feet it occupies next to the ACRA in the Rio Grande parking garage building. In addition, the meeting room on the third floor of the former Aspen Youth Center can also be kept free of offices.

“We do need the space. We’ve pinched and squeezed and done everything we could,” said Ed Sadler, assistant city manager.The city’s 2006 budget includes several new positions, and there is no place to put them at City Hall, he said.Councilwoman Rachel Richards, especially, urged the city to let Stay Aspen Snowmass remain in its present locale. The Zupancis parcel on Main Street, currently leased as temporary quarters to businesses displaced by the Obermeyer Place redevelopment, should come available late next summer, she pointed out.If Stay Aspen Snowmass is forced out, it will probably never be next door to Aspen’s main visitor center again, Richards said. Economics could drive it downvalley, she added.

“I’d hate to see the call center to Aspen be in Carbondale someday, or Basalt,” Richards said.Relocating the reservations call center would be complex and expensive – costing more than $100,000, estimated Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass.”If we’re going to have to move, we only want to move once,” he said.A move would likely put the agency outside the city limits, Tomcich confirmed. The Aspen Business Center was mentioned as a possibility.

“It could potentially push us downvalley,” he said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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