In line with Aspen’s ideals
I am writing a letter in support of the ballot measure for the Aspen Art Museum (AAM). How fortunate we are to have an organization like the art museum in our town!
It is the only American Association of Museums-accredited art museum on the Western Slope, providing many local residents, visitors and area school children with the opportunity to see incredible art exhibits without driving all the way to Denver. And now they are considering building a new art museum.
While many other municipalities are getting help from the government stimulus program, we have our own stimulus coming from the AAM, which is paid for entirely by private donations. I do have to admit that I am a little biased because I work for the structural engineering firm that is on the design team. But as a local engineer, I have also witnessed the decimation of the building industry in this valley with the recent downturn. The company that I work for has been fortunate to avoid layoffs by reducing our hours to a maximum of 32 hours a week, but many other local architects, engineers and contractors have not been so lucky. Projects like this will help to revive the local economy by providing vital work for the once-thriving building industry.
However, I am not advocating building just for building’s sake. A project like the new art museum will provide enormous civic benefit without requiring any taxpayer dollars. We are talking about an exciting, new art museum that is guaranteed to be free to the public for at least 10 years. This town was built on the Goethe ideals of “mind, body and spirit,” which were championed by Walter Paepcke, and if a project like this doesn’t fit with those ideals, I don’t know what does.
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Highway 82 is closed in both directions Wednesday morning after a multiple vehicle crash, according to a Pitkin County alert.