Marolt: A few hints on what Related can do to ease our suffering it
November 15, 2013
Now that we've decided that Related is about the lousiest developer a community could give the key to its town to, we need to figure out what we are going to get from it when it comes begging for an extension of its development rights that expire next fall unless it gets super busy and takes the "less" out of Baseless Village before then — which isn't going to happen, by the way.
Do you remember what we got the first time around, 10 years ago when a smidge more than half the town had a mad crush on anyone named Pat who promised to build a couple of new bars and restaurants for us if we allowed him to build about a million square feet of timeshares to go along with them? Sure you do. It's that stupid 200-yard patch of passing lane they put in about two-thirds of the way up Brush Creek Road. They tricked us into believing it was going to be the answer to all of our traffic problems. It wasn't until it was finished that we remembered we don't have any traffic problems, at least not there.
We won't get fooled again. Our pound of flesh can take many forms. A lot of people think it would be nice to have a movie theater up in the village where fun goes to take a nap before heading back to Aspen. I can see that. It could be a multipurpose theater so that we also can enjoy plays, concerts, lectures or anything else that requires the layout to park a lot of butts for a few hours at a time. That would be a great community benefit.
Others have talked about getting a full-on, year-round ice-skating rink in the village. I think that would be fine, except that I don't like to skate. But I don't want to let my pickiness get in the way of making Related spend some money on us. Why don't we design it just a little bit larger with a tad higher roof so that it could be used for other indoor sporting events like soccer, flag football or lacrosse? They thought about doing it at the Aspen Rec Center rink a couple of years ago, but there was just too much demand for the ice only. I think we could make the concept work here.
Think about this one: a new trail that circumnavigates the Droste moraine. It could be a basically level, singletrack contour that goes all the way around the mound, weaving its way up and around all the little draws. It could be about 20 miles of fairly level dirt trail that ends where it starts to make it super user-friendly. There is nothing like that around here. It would be a fantastic way to enhance our use and enjoyment of that substantial investment in open space.
Maybe they could pave the parking lot east of the rodeo arena for us and build infrastructure for a permanent farmers-market (that sounds so much better than "flea market") staging area there. Better yet, maybe they could move the entire rodeo arena a couple of hundred feet to the east to expand the day-skier parking lot in front of the rec center so that the first impression on visitors is that we have a clue about what we are doing out here and so that late-arriving skiers don't have to park hodgepodge in mud.
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It could be something as simple as subsidizing locals with a half-dozen complimentary dinners a year at the local restaurants of their choice as long as they bring some out-of-town guests with them. We get to look like big spenders, and the money eventually would come back to Related, and then some.
The way I figure it, as long as Related needs something from us, which it now does in a huge way, we might as well help it out as long as it helps us out in return. It owes us. This town has been a miserable ghost town of construction mess for almost a decade. It's been this way so long that many of us don't even see it anymore. On top of it all, Related took our favorite grocery store away. Basically, by doing nothing other than that while it waits for its stars to realign, Related has made all of its problems into our problem. It is past time when it starts giving back. As its track record has proven, unless we don't remind it of that, it won't.
Roger Marolt can't wait to ride the Droste Loop and then entertain his friends on a meal voucher at Il Poggio. Contact him at email@example.com.
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