Aspen’s true character |

Aspen’s true character

Dear Editor:”Those who have difficulty recognizing character usually do not possess it.” – Benjamin FranklinSo there were two meetings at the Jerome ballroom and among other things hundreds of residents voted on was the preservation of character in aspen. A whopping plurality voted “Yes, preserve.”What is it though? It’s easier to say what it is not. Well, the public toilet near Wagner Park is not in keeping with the character of Aspen. It is in keeping and has a close architectural affiliation with the bunkers of the Nazi high command in 1944.The new information booth on Cooper mall (recently self-congratulated by City Council): A cousin architecturally to the toilet. Over-sized. Modern tastelessness. And a recent poll substantiated that 60 percent of the people stopping there ask the same question: Where is a public toilet? Answer: Look for a building a block away that looks as monstrous as this one.Then there is this new steel fire pit, a place for tourists to inhale gas fumes, a pollution blow torch. Meanwhile council claims in another department it wants to restore clean air.The bookstore. If we want to maintain character, the Explore has it. They also have a toilet and it’s warm inside. Imagine the hundreds of guests of the various institutes in town being told there is no bookstore in town. (The stall at The Little Nell doesn’t qualify. It is, at best, a closet.) Want to buy a book for X-mas? Go to Amazon. Want to browse? Chat up literature? Try the public toilet.Council needs help recognizing character. We historically preserve buildings to sustain Aspen character. But these choicemakers really need help. Witness the commotion about Jordie Gerberg’s Swiss Chalet, as preservable as a Wal-Mart cuckoo clock.The committees that make these decisions should all be united under one office. A czar of taste. I nominate Howard Stern.Bob RafelsonAspen

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