Development gone wild
June 25, 2012
I have been slow to write this letter because speaking out against the proposed Aspen library expansion seems to some people like being against books. However, having always been a bibliophile, I remember well our old, tiny library on Main Street, I have loved our beautiful library on Mill Street, and I am there quite often.
In Aspen, we are lucky to have our handsome and spacious library that is 31,703 square feet. Aspen is a town of about 6,000 people (with little change in population and number of students in the Aspen School District for the past 10 years), and Pitkin County is approximately 17,000.
For comparison, Glenwood Springs has a population of approximately 9,000 and Garfield County approximately 56,000, and the Glenwood Springs Library is 9,000 square feet. And Grand Junction, with 59,000 in population, is the largest city in western Colorado, and its library is 35,000 square feet.
With the proposed Aspen library expansion, the library for our little town would far exceed that size.
Even with no significant changes in population in Aspen and Pitkin County and several years of a serious recession, with property values down, leases down, sales tax down, foreclosures, short sales, etc., and many locals having difficulty paying their taxes, there has been at the same time a trend to make everything bigger and bigger and bigger – bigger art museum, bigger airport, bigger hospital, bigger library, bigger everything – and going taller and taller.
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If we aren’t careful, and if developers get their way, every building downtown will be as tall as our historic landmark buildings. We’ll lose our views and precious open space, like the potential loss of our civic plaza with the proposed library expansion.
Doesn’t it seem like it’s getting out of control?