‘Bones’ of Theatre Aspen tent to stay up through winter for now
ASPEN – Theatre Aspen’s tent structure will remain in Rio Grande Park year-round – for at least another year.
The Aspen City Council voted 4-1 Monday night to allow the theater organization to leave the steel girders for its tent in place, without the canvas covering, during the winter. A wall will be installed around the site to help mitigate the visual impact, which remained a point of concern for City Council members.
“This is really difficult because nobody is against the organization or the art form or what it brings to the community. I think this community supports you 100 percent in your current location, but the girders of the tent have an unpleasant visual impact,” said Councilman Torre, who cast the dissenting vote. “And the walls you are suggesting are really not enough lipstick on the pig.”
Theater officials recognized the negative impact the “bones” of the tent may have, but they noted that erecting and dismantling the tent would be financially challenging – they estimated the annual cost of that process to be $250,000 – and would have a negative impact on the environment, as it would demand approximately 48 truck trips through the park, a crane and other construction activity.
“I think there is a way to figure this out, to find a win-win,” Councilman Derek Johnson said, suggesting a one-year approval while the parties involved work toward a permanent solution.
As a result, council members decided to allow the steel structure to remain in place for an additional winter, with a wall built around it, while they collect public input on its impact to the park and surrounding area. The council will then review the matter again, deciding whether the structure can remain up for future winters or not.
“We’ve been very mindful of how the community has supported our growth, and we want to continue that relationship,” said Theater Aspen artistic director Paige Price. “We want to find a solution we can afford and work with the city to be sure we meet that goal.”
Also approved as part of Monday’s council action was the construction of a permanent lobby on the Theatre Aspen site. The new structure will replace the temporary lobby that has been in use, it will include ticketing and concessions in summer, and it will be used for storage in winter.
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