Construction of the Iselin Park recreational complex can commence.After another lengthy and, at times, emotional meeting yesterday, the Aspen City Council voted unanimously to give final approval to plans for a facility that will include two new swimming pools, an ice rink, a new Aspen Youth Center and a climbing wall at Iselin Park.The $17 million facility, which has been in the discussion stages in one form or another for about a decade, will replace the aging James E. Moore Pool off Maroon Creek Road. Demolition of the old pool is scheduled to begin next month.The council heard one last plea from longtime local swim instructor Toni Kronberg to redesign the pools. Kronberg, who broke into tears, said the city is making a mistake by failing to build a warm-water pool with a deep end.”That is the point I feel very strongly about . that’s what’s going to make this pool succeed,” she said.The pool plans call for a six-lane, 25-yard lap pool with a diving well at one end and a warm-water leisure pool with a maximum depth of four feet. The leisure pool will offer a variety of features, like bubble jets, a waterfall, slide and current of water called a “lazy river.”Kronberg said the city should divide the leisure pool into two, creating one for small children and a deeper pool, with a maximum depth of 10 feet, for teenagers and adults.But city officials and many others in the community who have joined in the lengthy debates on what to build at Iselin have repeatedly said the facility, while not perfect, will please most people.”I can tell you I am deeply touched by your persistency, Toni, on this, and your caring,” said Mayor Rachel Richards. “We can’t be all things to all people.”This is going to be a beautiful, fantastic facility.””Thirty, 40, 50 years from now, this is going to be one of, if not the legacy of this City Council,” predicted Councilman Tony Hershey.In straw polls before the vote, council members agreed to leave the design of the pools – and the building itself – alone.The structure’s 58-foot central tower with a glass face, which troubled some neighbors and Planning and Zoning Commission members, was left intact. The P&Z recommended knocking 10 feet off the height.The tower will appear 45 feet high from Maroon Creek Road and will act like a chimney to naturally ventilate the building when it’s hot, according to its designers. There will be no air conditioning in the building.Richards urged the council not to give in to the urge to “smoosh” public buildings. “I think it’s a very important symbol of the pride in the building,” she said.Councilman Jim Markalunas said he found the tower “esthetically pleasing” and Hershey, who said he initially struggled with the feature, endorsed it, as well.”Like Rachel, I think this building has to have a little import, a little presence,” he said.Whether the building could be “greener,” however, troubled some council members. They quizzed mechanical engineer Paul Anseeuw on the sustainable building practices that will be employed in the 81,000-square-foot facility and how the building’s operations could be more environmentally friendly and efficient.Ultimately, they directed staffers to continue exploring ways to make the building “greener” where it’s feasible.”This is a public project – we should be setting the standard,” said Councilman Terry Paulson.Construction of the new complex it expected to take 18 months. The $8 million ice rink will be paid for with private donations and will not be fully built unless a group raising the funds is successful. Group members have said they will have enough raised for the city to proceed with building the shell.Return to The Aspen Times or AspenAlive.com Comments about this article? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.orgLooking for a particular article? Search our Daily ArchivesPosted: Wednesday, February 28, 2001
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