Aspen’s holiday lights up for discussion |

Aspen’s holiday lights up for discussion

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The future of the city of Aspen’s holiday lighting scheme – which includes an experiment with falling “icicle” lights from the tops of trees near the South Mill Street restroom area of the downtown pedestrian malls – will be discussed during the City Council’s work session Tuesday afternoon.

“This is a check-in with the council to see if they want to go a step further with the lights,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Woods. “I’ve gotten some positive feedback from the public, but we’ve yet to get input from council members.”

Instead of meeting at their chambers in the basement of City Hall, the council will gather at the Parks Department’s headquarters at 585 Cemetery Lane, north of the road’s intersection with Highway 82. The meeting is open to the public and starts at 4 p.m.

While Woods said various projects involving local parks and open space are on the agenda, much of the meeting will be a “meet and greet” with parks staff. The council’s goal is to hold meetings with most departments and facilities over the next couple of years, Woods said, to gain a better understanding of personnel, operations and equipment.

As it turns out, the Parks Department is first on the council’s tour.

“We’re sort of the guinea pigs,” Woods said. “The council wanted to meet every member of the department, in their work environment, to see what’s going on, what’s working well and how they can make our jobs better, which naturally we’re looking forward to.”

The festive pedestrian mall lights, a project that grew from a discussion last spring with the Commercial Core and Lodging Commission about ways to make the downtown area more attractive and inviting, were installed before the Christmas holidays. They were planned and implemented with the help of consultant Kale LeCroux of Basalt.

The lighting experiment also includes color-changing lights in the face of the clock tower near Wagner Park. LeCroux and other electrical designers approached the council last year with more grandiose concepts – including the idea of occasionally using Aspen Mountain as a projection screen for skiing videos, live sports and other features – but council members opted to start with a more scaled-down approach.

Another topic of discussion, Woods said, will be proposed trail connections for Sky Mountain Park, a collection of open space parcels that includes the former Droste property outside of Snowmass Village. Pitkin County, the city of Aspen and town of Snowmass Village are collaborating on a master plan for the park and the proposed trails are one aspect of the overall plan.

“We’re going to be talking about some of the successes in open space that we’ve had over the years, including Sky Mountain Park, Smuggler Mountain and the management plans we’re doing for both of those,” Woods said.

Other items on the agenda include the stormwater project at Rio Grande Park near the John Denver Sanctuary and a proposed restroom facility next to Theatre Aspen at the location; a maintenance initiative at Wagner Park that includes new irrigation and drainage systems; an extension of the Hunter Creek Trail that would provide the missing link with Rio Grande Trail; the potential replacement of the Bob Helm Bridge on Maroon Creek near the Aspen Golf Club; and a new pumphouse to provide freshwater irrigation to greens at the golf course.

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