New visitor center in Aspen heads for ballot
Aspen voters will decide whether the corner of Galena and Main streets is the right spot for a new visitor center.The City Council declined on Monday to repeal the ordinance that granted approval for the project. Last night’s decision came in response to a referendum petition demanding the council either repeal the measure or put it before voters.Repealing the ordinance will be the subject of a Nov. 2 ballot question, though Councilmen Torre and Terry Paulson pushed the council to take that action.Torre urged the council to reconsider the locale of the visitor center in light of recent hints that the Aspen Ranger District headquarters at Seventh and Hallam streets could function as a joint Forest Service/city visitor center.However, the agency’s level of interest in such a project isn’t clear, said Mayor Helen Klanderud.”They are not aggressively pursuing this at this point, as far as I know,” she said.Putting the visitor center in the middle of the congested S-curves makes little sense, added Councilwoman Rachel Richards.”It’s in the middle of the worst traffic jam this town has,” she said.Private landowners have received approval to redevelop the Main Street site with a multiuse building that would include the visitor center and new offices for the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, as well as several condos. They have offered to give the space that is built for the center and ACRA offices to the city, which would then lease it to ACRA.The owners of adjacent condos at the Galena Lofts have sued the city and the project’s developers to halt the project. Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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In the 1960s The Red Onion as the Aspen Ski Club would host an annual ski fashion preview, which in addition to clothing also included live music and a strip auction.