City tries to avoid teeing off golfers
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Local golfers will see only a modest hike in pass rates at Aspen’s municipal course this year, after the city backed off on a hefty hike that would likely have teed off more than a few players.
The cost of a resident season pass will increase from $700 to $720, not $1,050 as originally proposed.
The city’s 2003 fee schedule, which includes increased fees for everything from getting banners hung on light poles to obtaining a tree-removal permit, won approval Monday from the City Council. The council also OK’d fees for the new Aspen Recreation Center, which will open this spring, and created a Fun Pass, good for recreation programs at the ARC and elsewhere.
Fees went up about 3 percent with some exceptions.
The council tabled proposed fee hikes for nonprofit uses at the Wheeler Opera House after representatives of several groups complained that the increases caught them off guard.
The Wheeler and golf fees garnered most of the debate during a lengthy discussion.
Last month, city staffers proposed hiking the resident season pass rate at the golf course from $700 to the cost of three 20-punch passes ($350 each).
The proposal raised some brows on the council, and Director of Golf Steve Aitken returned last night with a couple of options ? simply hike the cost of the 20-punch and season passes by 3 percent or create a tiered pricing structure, with one cost for city residents and another for valley residents.
The course has always made the passes available to anyone who lives or works in Pitkin County. Setting a lower rate for city residents and another for county residents would mean individuals in the subdivision right across the highway from the golf course would be paying the higher rate, noted Mayor Helen Klanderud, objecting to that proposal.
Ultimately, the council approved hiking the price of a 20-punch pass from $350 to $360 and bumping up the cost of a season pass from $700 to $720. The resident passes will continue to be offered to anyone who lives or works in the county.
The cost of an 18-hole round for a visitor will go from $80 to $85, but the council agreed to create a $50 price per round for local residents who don’t play often enough to buy a pass. The city will also offer a $1,500 nonresident pass for visitors who come for the summer and plan to play a lot of golf.
The ARC fees include different rates for city residents, valley residents and nonresidents. Daily rates, as well as prices for a 20-punch card for youths and adults, were set. In addition, prices for a monthly pass, six-month pass and annual pass were established for youths, adults and families who reside in the city and in the valley.
The passes, considered Fun Passes, are good for skating, swimming, climbing and use of the new Aspen Youth Center at the ARC, scheduled to open this spring. They will also be good for, for example, public skating at the Aspen Ice Garden and aerobics at the Red Brick Arts and Recreation Center.
And, said Recreation Director Tim Anderson, pass holders will be able to use the Aspen High School weight room for a couple of hours in the evening on week nights.
Not covered with a Fun Pass ? at least not yet ? is use of the city’s new clay-surface tennis courts next to the golf course.
Councilman Tom McCabe lauded the Fun Pass concept.
“I think it’s a great approach,” he said.
[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]
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