Don’t lose another treasure
April 10, 2002
I bring up a reminder of two events of long ago, wherein the fate of two irreplaceable assets were to be determined by council action.
In the one instance, the fate of the historic Wheeler Opera House was determined by the electors of Aspen. This beautiful treasure we enjoy today because the will of the voters prevailed, in spite of then-City Council plans to the contrary. The voters at the time determined that this asset belonged to the citizens and should be preserved for the enjoyment of all.
In the second instance, Aspen’s hydroelectric plant, in perfect operating condition, which made history throughout the world, was scrapped for the price of junk metal.
A “perfect 10” in the industrial progress of the West, this historic resource, a technological marvel of its time, was summarily destroyed by council fiat. Out of ignorance and the expediency of the time, this historic resource was lost forever.
The existing trolleys, although not indigenous to Aspen history, represent an era of nostalgia and lifestyle that both visitors and residents yearn for. Why else do visitors come to Aspen, but to escape for a moment the tribulations of an outside world gone crazy with violence and to immerse themselves in surrounding beauty, with culture, music and recreation to refresh the body, mind and spirit in renewed hope for a better tomorrow?
Everyone loves what Aspen has to offer; but the sights and sounds of nature have been replaced by the smell and sound of diesel exhaust in our little world of self-created chaos. Aspen deserves better than what we have on Main Street. Or, do we want to be just like Anywhere, USA?
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You, as a council, can provide leadership with vision. Here is an opportunity not to repeat the mistakes of the past. At the very least, consider an election so the citizens can determine the fate of the trolleys.