A community benefit? | AspenTimes.com

A community benefit?

Dear Editor:Not surprisingly, a considerable number of ads in favor of Base Village focus on the proposed children’s center. I don’t think too many people would cast a “yes” vote if the ads depicted the looming condominium and hotel structures that are planned. What’s in it for the children is a far more persuasive angle. A few days ago, Bill Kane, the Skico’s vice president of planning and development, gave a fair and balanced presentation on Base Village to the Aspen Friday Lunch group. On the subject of the children’s center, he emphatically said that it wouldn’t be one of those places where there was just supervision and a few toys to play with – au contraire, one of Los Angeles’ best set designers was to put his personal touches on the project. The result, Mr. Kane ventured, was sure to be talked about the nation over.The ads and descriptions like Bill Kane’s have had an effect. In conversation about the Base Village, I was recently told by a young mother that we mustn’t forget the community benefits, such as the new children’s center. I have no doubt that the proposed facility will be breathtaking, but I also want to confront parents of this town with a question: Will it be an actual community benefit? As it happens, I’m familiar with the Skico’s current children’s center. Here’s what it costs to have my 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter spend a day there: $110! What do you think a day at the new center, the one designed by Hollywood’s best, will cost? Now, the Skico has never directly called the children’s center a community benefit – because it isn’t. It’s a facility that hopes to draw families to our resorts, and that would indeed be a good thing. But that could, and in my opinion will, be achieved with a smaller Base Village or no Base Village, as well. Perhaps the man from Hollywood won’t be retained and perhaps the ceilings will be a couple of feet lower, but offering high-quality children’s services is part of what the Skico needs to do to stay competitive. If you’re a parent, ask yourself what you’d rather pass on to your children: A densely packed Base Village with designer play sets or an unobstructed view of our mountains. Peter CaveltiSnowmass Village

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