Mordkin aims to jump-start town | AspenTimes.com
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Mordkin aims to jump-start town

Janet Urquhart

Snowmass Village needs something of a jump-start, according to Arnie Mordkin, an attorney who has thrown his hat into the ring for next week’s Town Council election.

Mordkin, 63, is among five candidates bidding for two seats.

“I think somebody needs to get things going again,” Mordkin said. “Snowmass Village is stagnating, and whenever you don’t go forward, you go backward.”

Snowmass has lost visitors, tax base (sales tax revenues) and amenities, he said.

A full-time resident since 1995 and a two-year member of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, Mordkin has been visiting Snowmass since 1970. He bought his first residence in the resort in 1982. His tenure, he said, gives him a perspective – and a sense of what has been lost.

He rattled off a list of amenities that Snowmass once boasted, like a repertory theater, a movie house, an ice rink and sleigh rides. The summer rodeo may be the next to go.

“There are a lot of folks who are new here and don’t remember all the things this village used to have,” he said. Those things, he said, are what Snowmass needs to bring people back and to remain vital.

Mordkin recalls the fire ring that used to exist on the Snowmass Mall, where teens would gather regularly on winter nights.

“That was a gathering place for kids. We’re supposedly a resort that caters to young people – families with children,” he said.

Mordkin, who runs Snowmass Photos and Books with his wife, in addition to his law practice, said he wants to see Snowmass prosper and grow.

The resort will have its next opportunity to do just that with the coming proposal from the Aspen Skiing Co. for a base village development.

“Base village is an integral part of the community, and it needs to be developed,” he said. He will not, he added, “rubber stamp” whatever the Skico brings forward.

Though the Skico’s application for the project will not come to the town until after the election, Mordkin is already pushing hard for one element – a “people transporter.”

Some free method of transport that connects the Snowmass Center to the base village and the mall has to be part of the plan, he said.

What that system might be, Mordkin can’t say yet. “It isn’t the rubber tire, I can tell you that.”

Mordkin doesn’t envision putting the cost of such a system on the Skico’s shoulders. It should be funded by private and public dollars, involving the Skico, mall merchants and property owners, the Snowmass Center, the Snowmass Village Resort Association and the town, he said.

Among other issues, Morkin said he favors formation of a rural transportation authority to fund valleywide mass transit.

Mordkin backs a pair of Snowmass Village ballot questions to enhance the town’s amenities – the measures that would allow additional taxes and increased debt to build a municipal swimming pool and purchase the Rodeo Grounds.

However, Mordkin said he opposes the citizens’ initiative that would place an annual spending cap on the town. Exceeding it would require voter approval.

The measure would generate divisiveness and undermine representative democracy, he said. Holding a vote each time government sees the need for an expenditure that would exceed the cap bogs things down, he said.


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