Can everyone win?
I am writing to ask our local voters to seriously consider what it means to approve the Aspen Art Museum proposal (Question 1). Let’s put aside the antagonism directed to the City Council. Those are other races. Let’s look at what the proposed new art museum really means for Aspen.
There is no question that the former youth center building is underutilized. It is a poorly designed building in a very valuable place. There are better uses for this important location, on the edge of downtown and within easy walking distance for most Aspen visitors.
Absolutely, the new art museum will add significantly to Aspen’s cultural attraction, already the reason for much of our visitor business. We are a world-class ski and recreation resort already; and the many cultural offerings in Aspen are a major part of our community’s fabric and visitor appeal also. The proposed art museum will be an invaluable cultural asset, it will attract nation-wide attention, and it will enhance our cultural image in Aspen. We must not lose the opportunity to make it happen.
We have heard much about the unusual and contemporary architecture of the building. Would we say the same about the Benedict Music Tent or Harris Hall? I think the proposed building is exciting, and it is part of Aspen’s appeal. What a great location for a dramatic building that will be an attraction itself.
The new Aspen Art Museum will be more accessible and will be larger. It will still provide community meeting space. It will be operated without charge to visitors, a major plus; and the funds to build it are already promised. There is no tax money involved, and the city gets payment for the old building!
I believe that everyone wins if the Aspen Art Museum question passes. Yes, we do need to look to our city officials to make good decisions. Passage gives authority for the city to negotiate; it is not final approval. There is much yet to be determined, and we will all be watching. If the right deal cannot be agreed upon, there will be no deal at all. I urge passage of Question 1 so we can take important steps forward with this major cultural enhancement. It will bring good things to our town, and to businesses in Aspen; and it will be a place of which we can all be proud.
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Andrew Huntsman and Ralph Smalley were chosen by the seniors to give the class address during Basalt High School’s graduation ceremony on Saturday. This had the two BHS teachers questioning the legitimacy of those diplomas they were about to hand out.