Pro Base2 committee keeps outspending its opponents

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

The campaign committee pushing for the passage of Base2 Lodge didn’t receive any contributions for the latest reporting cycle, but it still boasts more than 16 times as much money than its opposing group.

Campaign committees finance reports for the Oct. 9 to 22 election cycle were due with the city Tuesday, the same day City Clerk Linda Manning posted them online.

Citizens for Aspen Alive reported it has $21,041 to spend on the final stretch of the Base2 campaign, which has touted developer Mark Hunt’s proposed lodge as being affordable and a boon for Aspen’s youth movement.

Hunt is bankrolling the campaign with a $50,000 contribution he made Sept. 18.

The pro Base2 group spent $15,363 in the latest campaign expenditure cycle, from Oct. 9 to 22. Its largest expense, $6,290, went to Florida-based Mad Dog Mail, which is handling pro Base2 mail-outs. Another $4,535 went to the Carbondale firm Agency Aspen, which is responsible for the campaign’s local newspaper advertisements.

The group also eclipsed $1,000 spent at two Aspen pizza joints — $90.10 went to Domino’s Pizza on Oct. 13, and $926 was spent at Ryno’s Pies & Pints on Oct. 21. Citizens for Aspen Alive also spent $60 at Aspen Brewing Co. on Oct. 13.

The pizza and beer merchants are all located in buildings Hunt owns.

• Buckhorn Arms Building houses a Domino’s. Hunt bought the East Cooper Avenue spot for $4.25 million in May 2014 and plans to demolish it so he can build a 42-room Base1 Lodge.

• Ryno’s is located in the sub-ground space of the Bidwell Building at the corner of East Cooper Avenue and Galena Street. Hunt, who bought it for $22 million in December 2012, plans to tear it down and replace it with another commercial structure.

• Aspen Brewing does business in the Seguin Building at 304 E. Hopkins Ave., which Hunt bought for $4.25 million in May 2014. He has not revealed plans for that location.

Gordon Bronson, treasurer for Citizens for Aspen Alive, said the group also has reached out to Aspen’s older demographic.

“I’m excited to say that we have been reaching a broad audience of Aspen voters, and that the cross-section of our support has ranged from young people to longtime locals,” Bronson wrote in an email.“I happen to fit both categories. The momentum is really strong, and I expect a strong turnout by election day.”

Meanwhile, Vote No on Base2, the opposing group, reported $1,335 funds on hand. It raised $5,200 in the recent cycle and spent $4,981 to defeat the lodge.

Among its contributors were Dick Butera ($300), who once owned the Hotel Jerome, which is less than a block away from the would-be Base2. Another contributor in the hospitality industry, Bob Morris, who runs Aspen Lodge on Main Street gave $500 to Vote No on Base2.

The group’s largest expenditure in the latest cycle was $3,346 to the Aspen Daily News, which endorsed Base2 in its Tuesday edition, for campaign advertisements.

Hunt has said the Base2 Lodge would have small rooms sized at roughly 150 to 175 square feet.

If passed by voters, the 37-room lodge would be built at 232 E. Main St., currently home of a Conoco service station.

Election Day is Tuesday. Voters can cast their ballots at the Chabad Jewish Community Center at 435 W. Main St. It also is a mail-ballot election for those wishing to cast their votes earlier.


Hanukkah has arrived in Aspen

Members of the valley’s Jewish community gathered at the Albright Pavilion at Aspen Meadows Thursday for their second annual menorah lighting ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge the first day of Hanukkah.

See more