Fiat lux |

Fiat lux

Dear Editor:

Free spirits and visionaries, miners and dirt pimps, a diverse mix of people to say the least and yet this was the mix of people who called Aspen home; and who of that group remains today? Not the free spirits and the visionaries; they can’t afford to live here, and the last miner’s “estate” is being sued for damages incurred when he threatened to bomb the town on New Year’s Eve, an important night for restaurants and night clubs to cash in on their flush customers who were, as a result, not allowed to eat, drink and make merry in Aspen that all-important night.

Ranchers, artists, intellectuals and physicists are still here, having gotten in on the ground floor and many are selling out for the promise of a nest egg ” can you blame them? Dirt pimps are very much here as the prices for real estate have skyrocketed, but that may slow down in the days to come.

During all of these years, it has become apparent that Aspen the resort depends, for its success, on Aspen the community, and that is why we had a character committee as part of the Aspen Area Community Plan, which was adopted in 1992 and which, I assume, we are redoing today. The character committee that our group was called did not want to use money, dollars and cents, euros or yen as yard sticks to measure the health of our community. So we called our somewhat mixed-up idea of what we wanted for the future of Aspen “messy vitality,” and we meant it as self-expression with a minimum of rules and regulations and a maximum of individual creativity aimed at making life for everyone more fun and more enriching, and if projects leaked out onto the sidewalks or into the street when no sidewalk was available, why so be it.

Today, all of these ideas seem moot since a sense of neighborhood within the city limits is pretty much something referred to “as the past,” and most of the homes are second or third in the line of acquired houses; as John Updike wrote, each house requires a visit and one does not qualify as a home. If the health of the resort relies on the health of the community, then we of Aspen and Pitkin County had better figure out how we are going to make happen, i.e. bring about the return of a robust community, and by that I don’t mean a gaggle of Tajs and no Thoreau cottages anymore than a gaggle of huts and no Tajs, but I do mean no more gated communities and more cheek by jowl for everyone without recourse to a balance sheet to determine if it’s OK to live in this community.

So what I want to know is: Will the city give us, the citizens, some impetus, some fiat lux (get out your online Latin)? Will the city be inspiring, be more willing to help, not hinder, our tackling some ideas that we might have to bring to both our elected officials and their bureaucracy to the table of discussion and thought for a future in which money may not be the determining factor?

Maggie DeWolf


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