Aspen City Council: Galena Plaza project to get another review today
The Aspen Times
The Aspen City Council returns to action today following a 12-day meeting hiatus for another look at plans to revamp Galena Plaza, the little-used green space next to the Pitkin County Library.
Project officials with the city’s Capital Assets and Parks departments are seeking the council’s blessing on a detailed design for the plaza. The council’s work session starts at 5 p.m. today in the basement of Aspen City Hall at 130 S. Galena St. Council members also are expected to receive an update on plans for the USA Pro Challenge event, a bike race that will have a presence in the city on Aug. 19 and 20.
The previous version of the council, prior to the spring municipal elections, gave the go-ahead for the two departments to continue design details for the plaza during a work session April 16. Final issues related to parking-space changes for the Aspen Police Department and Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office also were discussed at that meeting, having been first ironed out in March.
Basically, the old council — today’s council has a new mayor and three new members — wanted a design for the plaza that was simple, with an emphasis on green space. Some preliminary designs had called for what some say was a grandiose design with a lookout tower, a winding staircase, paved pathways and an amphitheater-style seating area to accommodate local outdoor theater productions. Following several meetings, the plans were scaled down under the council’s direction.
However, in July, city staffers involved in the plaza design learned of plans by the library to move forward with another library-expansion project. A previous library-expansion plan that involved a property tax increase was shot down by voters in November. The new plans for library expansion are less expensive and expansive than the one on the fall ballot.
“The (plaza) design team has not yet reflected this new proposed library expansion direction into the project scheduling,” states a memo from city planners. The memo adds that additional considerations will be made to the plaza design given the library’s proposal, which will not depend on voter approval.
In other council matters, a daylong retreat for the new council makeup is being planned for Aug. 15. The location has yet to be determined.
Also, council members won’t be meeting for work sessions on Aug. 19 and 20 because of the bicycle race. They will return to official action on Aug. 26 for a regular meeting.
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The number of COVID-19 cases in Pitkin County has not dropped in the past two weeks, despite the fact that offseason is in full effect and most tourists have gone home.