Music Associates of Aspen should contribute to trail |

Music Associates of Aspen should contribute to trail

We’re glad the wheels are in motion to build a new public trail along the lower reaches of Castle Creek, and we hope the Music Associates of Aspen agree to contribute to the $2.2 million project.Earlier this month the City Council committed $1.1 million toward the effort, and Pitkin County has already agreed to contribute the same amount. The trail will be built regardless, but we feel the Music Associates have a neighborly obligation, if nothing else, to help with the exorbitant construction costs. After all, music students (and thus the festival in general) arguably will benefit the most from this new amenity.The controversy surrounding this project, and the mounting costs associated with it, are understandable. About two years ago, this trail was supposed to cost a third of what it will cost now. It’s hardly surprising that council members have been divided about the city’s contribution, and that the Music Associates would prefer local governments to foot the entire bill.As Music Associates representatives have noted, this is a public safety issue that falls to local government. However, it wouldn’t be a public safety issue if music students weren’t regularly walking along Castle Creek Road, instruments in hand, between the Marolt housing complex and the Music School campus.If we take the long view on this matter, then it becomes clear that everybody benefits from the creation of this trail, regardless of whose jurisdiction it’s in. Music students will be safer, as will trail users from Aspen Country Day School, not to mention other pedestrians and cyclists who pay taxes in the city, the county and other places.The city and the county have agreed to pony up for this important trail link, which has been in the plans for years. Knowing that the governments will cover the $2.2 million, the Music Associates doesn’t have a strong incentive to pitch in. On the other hand, its board has a strong, community-minded track record, and we hope they’ll see fit to contribute.

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