Doing something, not nothing
The recent effort by the city of Aspen to give a heads up to the voters about future plans for the core area on Main Street deserves a high-five. Effective publicity and the free lunch at the Jerome were great incentives to get people to show up.
The large crowd, including perhaps a small number of staffers, was attentive and appeared representative of all shades of opinion.
I personally think it OK for the general public to identify and concur with the judgment of those who attended. They would not be disappointed.
The broad concept of the plan: first to get cars off the streets by constructing more underground parking, improve open space and plan buildings for the balance of the area. The interested parties are the city, the county, the library, affordable housing and potentially a site for a relocated art museum.
Contrary to an opinion expressed on this paper’s editorial page, there are only three options that can be usefully applied: No. 1 Do nothing; No. 2 Do something; No. 3 Do everything.
This group clearly supported doing something. Underground parking and affordable housing likely would be of most benefit. The county and library need to work out their needs.
All this requires taxpayer funds. The potential relocation of the art museum, however, would not be a tax burden since it would be privately funded. It can be argued that the Aspen Art Museum, currently in the former powerhouse, would only serve a very small clientele. That might well be accurate, although it would appear by the number of commercial galleries in this town that art is of rather wide interest.
Still, there are many community amenities that only benefit a select number of residents. For instance, consider the cross-town shuttle ” not exactly standing room only. The bike path bridge on Cemetery Lane. (I have yet to see one biker on this structure.) A hiking path to be built on the east end of town ” no traffic jam likely there. The music school used 10 weeks a year, etc., etc. Yet all these bits of infrastructure contribute value to quality of life. A relocated art museum in a prime location and not affected by responsibilities and constraints of spending public funds would be a major asset to this fine city.