Let’s think twice about visitor’s center | AspenTimes.com

Let’s think twice about visitor’s center

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:

Concerning the proposed new visitor’s center in Aspen, I do not understand why we need such an expensive addition to Aspen.

I can only guess at the long-term financing arrangements. I do know, for example, that if the city is purchasing this building for $1 million-plus and amortizing it on a 15-year note at a 5 percent rate, it will ultimately cost about 1 1/2 times its original price, and substantially commit our city’s future spending. Regardless of the specific terms, the city will be re-paying a debt long past the reign of the current council and mayor.

I also cannot understand how this new visitor’s center will make already-cramped police vehicle parking any easier, not to mention emergency exits answering policy calls any easier or safer.

At the adjoining Pitkin County Library, parking is already difficult. This new multistory building project will add congestion headaches, especially with the plans requiring the plaza greenery to be bulldozed for an asphalt lot. The situation will generate more traffic and noise in this Main Street-Mill Street area.

After I read that the Aspen schools/education foundation are trying to raise money for students to take field trips, I would rather donate my money to the kids, not raise their future debt payment for another visitor’s center in the middle of the city.

In difficult economic times, let’s think twice before making such a large financial commitment.

Jim Henderson