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More than a health club

Dear Editor:In May 2005, I took a leap of faith and moved to Aspen. I had previously visited this valley twice and had fallen in love with its environmental beauty. As a big-city girl, I was unfortunately unprepared for small-town life. During my first year in Aspen, having left my support system behind on the East Coast, I felt very isolated and out of place. To make matters worse, unforeseen circumstances meant that I was unable to continue my fitness and nutrition regimen, which was an important part of maintaining my physical and mental health.Thankfully, through my employment with a local youth nonprofit, I was given the opportunity to become a member of what I initially believed to be a standard health club. When I walked through the doors of The Aspen Club & Spa, I quickly discovered that it was much more than I had expected. At the end of Ute Avenue, I not only found a home, I also found reason to stay in town beyond my first year.The Club has proven to be a “community” focused on more than just health and wellness. Michael Fox and his staff have opened the Club’s doors to people in this valley who would otherwise have no opportunity to experience what the Club has to offer. You see, this isn’t just about me and my need to indulge in my daily fitness regimen. Throughout the past four years, many groups of at-risk and economically challenged youth from here in the valley and across the country have been welcomed to the Aspen Club. It is thanks to the Club that the gap between the affluent and the under served was made just a little bit smaller. It is because of the above that I fully support the Aspen Club redevelopment project currently before City Council. This is a progressive project that is appropriate for this town and will not only benefit those who live East of the roundabout, but those who reside in this entire valley.The Aspen Club is one of the largest employers in town and is a great place for members and the community to gather daily. The Club has been an integral part of the Aspen community for three decades and like most long-standing institutions, I completely understand its need to evolve as it continues to meet the growing needs of this valley. The project creates more reasons for visitors to come to Aspen, for locals like me to remain in town, and for the under-served to improve their health and wellness.After attending many P&Z and Council meetings and listening to the concerns of many stakeholders, it appears that Michael Fox has been responsive to the concerns of neighbors and that all issues have been addressed in thoughtful ways. I especially appreciate their energy commitments and the fact that the project is fully aligned with the Aspen Area Community Plan in terms of transportation, housing, managing growth, economic sustainability and arts, culture and education. The Aspen Club adds a great deal of value to this community’s quality of life. What happens to the Club will reverberate throughout this community. The upgraded Aspen Club will be great for the vitality of this valley. This is why I fully support this project.Carleen JosephAspen


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