ACRA outspends opponents on visitor center
The Aspen Chamber Resort Association has far outspent the opponents of a new Main Street visitor center in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election.Reports filed this week with the city clerk’s office indicate ACRA put up $4,000 to fund campaign efforts to promote the defeat of Referendum 2A. The measure will repeal the zoning approval for the new visitor center if voters approve it.Aspen Concerned Citizens, formed to campaign for passage of 2A and halt the project, has slightly more than $4,000 on hand, but spent just $53.75 between Oct. 13-26, according to its report. The expenditure went toward the purchase of absentee/early voter lists from the clerk’s office.The group has also mailed a flier to Aspen voters, but hasn’t yet received the bill, according to Candy Allen, a spokeswoman for Concerned Citizens. That expense and others will be included in the group’s next report, she said.Virtually all of the money in the Aspen Concerned Citizens’ coffers came in the form of a $4,000 contribution from Allen and her husband, Len. They own a unit at Galena Lofts. Views from some of the condos at Galena Lofts would be blocked by the proposed visitor center.ACRA had not initially filed as an issues committee, but city clerk Kathryn Koch and city attorney John Worcester agreed it was necessary, Koch said yesterday.ACRA reported spending $3,882 in its campaign; the money went toward newspaper advertisements and inserts, signs and mailings.The chamber’s board of directors, representing its member businesses, voted to support the proposed project.Owners of the property at the corner of Galena and Main streets have proposed a redevelopment of the site; they have offered to give space inside the planned new building to the city for ACRA’s offices and its main visitor center. It would replace the current ACRA headquarters in front of the Rio Grande parking garage – space the chamber leases from the city.Opponents of the project, including some Galena Place homeowners, spearheaded a referendum petition that led to 2A’s placement on the ballot. The Galena Lofts Homeowners Association has also sued the City Council and the property owners/developers of the visitor center, claiming the project violates covenants on the parcel.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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