Let them work | AspenTimes.com

Let them work

It has been said that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

That certainly could be said about the city of Aspen’s construction management plan.

Indeed, city leaders had the best interests of Aspen residents in mind when they drafted ” and subsequently amended ” the construction management plan.

For the most part, we support the overall good of the plan. Chiefly, it has helped turn down the volume on the soundtrack to Aspen ” that ear-blasting cacophony of jackhammers, buzz saws and beeping of construction trucks.

Since it took effect in the fall of 2007, the plan reduced construction time from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Saturday workdays are limited from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; however, construction crews can’t exceed 80 decibels. During the week, construction activity can exceed 80 decibels, but only during the designated work times.

Construction workers, project managers and contractors have called the plan too heavy-handed. We understand their concerns, but it no doubt has improved the quality of life for full-time Aspen residents.

But we do agree with them when it comes to one component of the construction management plan. That’s the eight-day ban on construction activity within Aspen city limits on Dec. 25 through Jan. 1.

We suppose this piece of the plan was an effort to reduce traffic and disruption during a big tourism week but, especially during a recession, it feels like one more way to alienate the working class. Why single out construction workers to lose eight days of pay as the year comes to an end? To be frank, the halt on construction hardly seemed to make a difference in the quality of life in Aspen, given the number of snowplows and tourists this time of the year.

To make matters worse, not only did construction workers get hit in the wallet, so did the city’s sales tax coffers. With hundreds of construction workers not working in Aspen during the holidays, that translated to thousands of dollars not being spent at local shops and restaurants.

We urge city leaders to reconsider allowing construction during the last week of the year. While no plan is perfect, allowing construction during the holiday season would be a vast improvement.

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