All of Aspen’s issues | AspenTimes.com
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All of Aspen’s issues

Dear Editor:The tyranny of construction in town is way out of hand. Too many simultaneous projects are allowed to close off whole streets, usurp citizen parking, create perpetual dust and noise, and cause weekday gridlock on Main Street and Highway 82. Aspen has become like living in a catastrophe that never ends.Why shouldn’t citizens be given equal consideration? Can’t there be some calm low-impact-free periods in between projects, some quality of life, some slowdown of this systematic pillaging of our town jewels? And why should event after tented event take over our parks as if they were parade grounds?On the heels of this mania, come The Red Onion and Hotel Jerome projects.Rumor has it that the new owners of the Onion, Garfield and Hecht, a couple of attorneys who have been around here long enough to know better, are jacking their building rent north of $40,000 a month.Ronald, Andrew, don’t you guys have enough money yet? What is it that you don’t have that you still need to buy? Aren’t your families well taken care of? Why are you making it nearly impossible for The Red Onion to continue?Word on the street is that the possible upscaling of the Onion is a decoy, an end run around the public outcry by the legal landlords, to put bland, unneeded high-paying fluff where the heart of original Aspen still beats.Trampling the Onion, the only business in town that goes back to 1892, just because the market might bear it, is tragic and greedy. You fellows should seriously reassess your values and understanding of Aspen.Then there’s the Jerome. The short-lived owners overshot with their $15 hamburgers and $10 beers, and the once vibrant bar has been deserted. And now we, through our elected government, are accused of being too difficult for honorable redevelopers to deal with, because we wanted to preserve the historic nature of the great hotel, and because we wouldn’t permit them to splice on a fourth floor to justify their gift to us. Still, they flipped a $30 million profit and the agent made $1.5 million for shuffling the papers.Now the latest Jerome redevelopers, who bought in too high, and their sympathizers, will float the same canard: that elected government is to blame when speculators can’t profit enough on what they paid for a property, unless exceptions to historic preservation and building codes are granted.The Jerome has already been artfully restored to its Victorian grandeur and does not need to be redone again, just polished and run well as a vibrant hotel, not squandered as another timeshare.Which brings us around to the mayoral election. Why should we trust a developer, who tries to move the worker vote to the right with a promise of more profit on their employee housing? And why elect a nice man with no family name who doesn’t get the big picture, and who doesn’t yet understand that his boyish quest is ego driven?Mick, with all his history and rough edges, is the only one with the courage to say NO to unchecked redevelopment.Community not commodity!Vote for Mick Ireland.Tim CooneyAspen


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