Aspen offered first shot at buying Dolinsek property |

Aspen offered first shot at buying Dolinsek property

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

The city of Aspen appears poised to acquire a piece of prime property, located at the base of Aspen Mountain, that has been privately owned for 125 years.

At Monday’s upcoming City Council meeting, the council is scheduled to vote on whether to approve a $2.5 million price tag to buy the Dolinsek family property.

The Dolinsek family has owned a half-acre plot located on the west side of South Monarch Street, across from the St. Regis Aspen Resort property, since 1889. The land sits adjacent to Lift 1A and Willoughby parks that the city owns.

The original Lift 1 on Aspen Mountain was boarded in the Dolinseks’ backyard for just a few dollars and attracted skiers from all over the country.

“This is a unique opportunity for the city,” said Austin Weiss, the city’s Open Space and Natural Resource manager. “It seems like a perfect fit. We can honor the legacy of the Dolinsek family and develop a community park, which is a winning situation for everyone.”

Frank Dolinsek passed away in June 2013, leaving his brother, John, and sister, Josephine, as owners of the property. Before his death, both brothers expressed their wishes to sell the property to the city to be preserved as a park for the benefit of the public.

The city and the Open Space Board have been involved in discussions with various family members regarding acquiring this property for the past 17 years without success.

In October, an attorney representing the Dolinsek family informed the city that John Dolinsek was interested in selling the property to the city for the development of a community park.

The purchase has strong support and the recommendation from the Open Space and Trails Board to proceed with this acquisition.

The Dolinseks are an important piece of Aspen’s skiing history and were instrumental in the development of some of the area’s first ski runs as well as helping establish the Aspen Ski Club.

The Dolinsek family has requested, as a condition of the sale, that the remaining Dolinsek siblings be allowed to live on the property until their passing, that the property only be developed as an active community park and be named Dolinsek Park.

Weiss said no plans have been drawn up for the property, but besides being a community park, he could also see some historical interpretations on the property.

“The Dolinsek family has some great community ties to Aspen,” Weiss said. “This is a great opportunity to honor the family and give Aspen a significant park property in a busy part of town.”