Aspen keeps CCLC alive |

Aspen keeps CCLC alive

Carolyn SackariasonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN It appears a citizen committee charged with protecting the commercial core will continue to represent downtown businesses.Members of the Commercial Core and Lodging Commission met with the City Council on Tuesday to explain what their mission is and what they’ve been up to in recent years. The meeting was partially to determine whether the CCLC should be reauthorized since its official standing in city government has lapsed. CCLC members also asked that the City Council reinstitute its annual $40,000 budget that had been stripped about four years ago. The money was funneled into the parks department for mall maintenance and other work.The council voiced its support to reauthorize the commission and change the board membership to seven people, plus one alternate. Council members said they would consider the $40,000 allocation during the budget discussion this fall.CCLC chairman Bill Dinsmoor said much more could be accomplished if the commission had a budget to work with, especially seed money to develop programs throughout downtown. Without the money, Dinsmoor said, the CCLC has dealt with commercial core issues ineffectively – like swimming with one hand tied behind its back.”We think we could do a lot if you untied us,” he said. “We could do an even more effective job.”Public art programs, better lighting downtown, expanding the farmers market, resurrecting the Taste of Aspen event and other programs could all be possibilities, CCLC members said.The CCLC primarily serves as the conduit between downtown businesses, and city staff and the council. Volunteer members meet twice a month to brainstorm and ultimately advise the council on business strategies and downtown core issues.The CCLC includes Aspen business people and professionals who tackle everything from parking issues, alleys, garbage and recycling collection, to outdoor dining areas and newspaper boxes. The CCLC also manages the Saturday farmers market – Aspen’s third-best-attended event, according to Dinsmoor.But in the past, the CCLC has had problems communicating with previous councils, leaving its members frustrated that they aren’t heard and they struggle to remain relevant.The commission could play an integral role in shaping the future makeup of businesses downtown as the City Council considers regulating what types of stores can be in the commercial core. Ideas have been tossed around that would limit high-end stores, and possibly subsidize or provide incentives to attract local-serving businesses.Carolyn Sackariason’s e-mail address is