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Iselin Park’s neighbors worried about effects of expanded park

John Colson

The Castle/Maroon Creek Caucus, concerned about development plans at nearby Iselin Park, wants floodlights and noisy nighttime activities kept away from its neighborhood.

And city officials seem willing to meet the neighborhood at least halfway.

City voters will be asked in May to authorize more than $16 million in bonds to pay for a new ice rink/swimming pool recreation complex, along with a long list of other recreation-related projects.

The focus of all this is what is known as the Community Campus Masterplan, which outlines plans for the recreation center, relocation of tennis courts and softball fields, trail construction and a host of other projects. Several members of the Castle/

Maroon Creek Caucus are on the Community Campus Masterplan Task Force.

Two representatives of the caucus – King Woodward and Larry Slater – met with the Aspen City Council Monday to present a list of “concerns” they hope the city can resolve.

“We’re going to be surrounded by seven fields, with the noise of seven games going on,” predicted Slater, as an explanation for the caucus’s worries.

Among the list of what Mayor John Bennett jokingly termed “the 12 nonnegotiable demands” are suggestions such as: No at night to illuminate nighttime activities such as softball or soccer games, now or in the future. No use of loudspeakers should be permitted “at any time at the Community Campus Complex.” “There will be no alcohol consumed or served now or in the future” at the complex. A maximum of three concerts per year should be permitted at the ice rink facility. No second sheet of ice should be built anywhere on the campus complex. Parking on site should be restricted to the roughly 470 spaces that exist now at Iselin Park and the schools campus. Any need for additional parking for special events should be accommodated through the use of shuttles. Any events that draw more than 250 spectators or participants should be classified as a formal “Special Event,” requiring a hearing before th floodlightse City Council and formal notification of the Castle/Maroon Creek Caucus in advance of that hearing. In addition, the caucus is asking that the City Council put into writing any agreements regarding the caucus’s requests. Once enacted, the agreement would be left in place for 10 to 15 years, subject to a review at the end of that “sunset” period.

Woodward and Slater said the caucus is worried that, even if the current City Council agrees to their list of suggested restrictions, future city councils will not honor the agreement.

City Council members and staffers at the meeting indicated some sympathy with the caucus’s concerns.

“I can understand their fear,” said Assistant City Manager Steve Barwick. But, he cautioned the council, “absolutely locking it up in a legal document will tie the hands of future councils.”

The council will take up the matter at a future meeting.


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