Letter: Hotel proposal vital to Aspen’s future
I support Michael and Aaron Brown’s planned unit development proposal to redevelop the Hotel Aspen into a 54-unit hotel. The controversy is over a 1- to 9-foot height variance required to allow three free-market homes to be built along Bleeker Street.
The Hotel Aspen is a 50-year-old historical building. The proposed plan follows the guidelines that were first suggested by Mick Ireland in 2012 for just this type of project. Aspen does not need to struggle when compared to the best ski resorts of the world; we have the community ready to tackle new projects and initiatives. Aspenites are risk-takers and know how to provide a superior and fulfilling experience that does not exclude anyone because of the cost.
I urge you to act quickly to maintain the accessibility of our town. There exists a small group of people in opposition to all development notwithstanding the wider public benefits to this area. Ultimately, Aspen would not be what it is if it hadn’t been for change.
Walter Paepcke’s efforts in 1946 to develop Aspen into a ski resort and unique cultural center would have been perceived as a massive growth initiative by some people in Aspen today. It likely would have met severe opposition and a never-ending effort to thwart great ideas based on the fact that they introduce development. My contention is that the essence of Aspen needs to be retained, and since buildings deteriorate, they eventually need to be replaced. Fortunately, there is a historic preservation committee that ensures Aspen maintains a balance of new and old and it unanimously has approved this project.
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Residents have both the privilege and the obligation to participate in the vision for the community’s future. Many people embrace public debate and therefore lead by becoming knowledgeable and expressing their opinion. I urge all residents to please reach out to the city councilmen Art.Daily@cityofaspen.com and
Steve.Skadron@cityofaspen.com to let them know how important this redevelopment approval is to maintaining Aspen as a premier destination with a diverse hotel base. History is being written with this decision and Aspen can take steps on March 10 to help maintain its unique appeal with the help of a new, affordable Hotel Aspen.
An aspiring Olympian, physicist or virtuoso could be the next person to stay in one of these new rooms and later make Aspen home.
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