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Give the Lodge a chance

Dear Editor:In yesterdays paper, it was reported that Aspen has lost a long-standing tradition playing host to the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. In addition to providing Aspenites with a great time for 13 years, the event also brought Aspen lots of publicity, as the shows often enjoyed extended play on TV. One of the primary reasons the Comedy Festival organizers gave for leaving Aspen was the loss of hotel rooms. We bemoan the loss of guest accommodations, but are willing to let just a few members of our current City Council disallow the first new hotel project in nearly 20 years the Lodge at Aspen Mountain. In reading the myriad articles about the lodge proposal that have been written in the papers, it appears that the developers have jumped through four years of hoops to create a project that not only was approved by the P&Z, but the neighboring community as well. Surely the community benefits they are offering affordable housing, a new high-speed lift and especially the improvements to that section of Aspen Street will enhance that area of town. Yes, there are construction impacts we all experience them, and theyre a pain in the neck. But Aspen must continue to reinvent and refresh itself in order to continue to attract visitors and special events to our city. Our hotel inventory is tired, and in some cases woefully outdated and inadequate. The Lodge at Aspen Mountain will supply additional hotel beds, more public parking and much-needed public meeting space. It is not fair to the developers who have invested four years in this process and have made significant efforts to modify their project to meet the needs and requests of the community, to have the final decision rendered by just a couple of people. We need to look not at the near-term impact of construction but at the long-term need for Aspen to gain more beds and continue to evolve as an inviting place for people to visit and live.Give the Lodge at Aspen Mountain project a chance to be reviewed by the new City Council.Betsy FurthAspen


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