Marolt: Keeping our word would better serve community | AspenTimes.com

Marolt: Keeping our word would better serve community

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic

Roger Marolt

There are things I don't understand, like the Theory of Relativity, which is understandable. There are also things I don't understand, like the negotiations that took place between the town of Snowmass Village and Related Whatever, Inc., for what Related's community benefit to us for putting up with their crap should have been, which seemed pretty simple.

Excuse me if I'm wrong, but I believe Related was supposed to build a community aquatic center as our community benefit according to their original agreement with us. So, why didn't we make them keep their word for once during this drawn out development circus and be done with it?

They said, the town said, everyone seemed to say that this would be a ridiculous thing to do because nobody wants a community aquatic center in Base Village anymore. I understand that Related has refrained from keeping their promise to build it for so damn long that the community actually had to go out and build its own recreation center instead, but I think Related should still have been forced to keep its promise to build the aquatic center in Base Village. A deal is a deal, and there are good reasons Related should have held up their end of the bargain.

For starters, even though they are a minority in Snowmass Village and for the most part probably aren't even voters here, the people who invested in Base Village properties, however ill-advised, made their investments believing that someday, most likely much sooner rather than this much later, they would have this amenity in place to bolster their investments and the enjoyment of their properties. How could we turn our backs on them? Not only did Related owe this to them, but we did, too. It is what everyone agreed on.

Yes, it really is that simple. I think it is important to remember that not building the aquatic center at Base Village is not just another in a long list of Related's unkept promises. By agreeing to this clause in the master plan, it was our promise to people who invested here, too. Related's hands are filthy in this whole mess; I do not want mine kneading the same wad of dung as theirs are. They are apparently just fine in reneging on their word, but I am not.

Secondly, as worthless as a new public aquatic center at Base Village may seem, I doubt it will be as worthless as the mammoth bone Discovery Center we are now going to get. At the very best it is a side show that tourists might visit if they find themselves with a few minutes to kill. At worst, it is a property that the town will have to maintain for years that attracts exactly nobody to come visit our town. The truth is that the discovery of the old bones was an incredibly exciting event, but the Discovery Center is a bore that will become more so the further away in time we get from that initial discovery.

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We could have gotten money in lieu of some concrete community benefit, the ideas for which seem to be forever elusive and unexciting, but the fear was that almost any amount of cash given by Related to the town would be quickly absorbed by the municipal budget with little, if any, increase in services or reduction in property or sales taxes noticed.

So, why not a state-of-the-art aquatic center at Base Village now? I am an extremely satisfied customer of our own rec center and would likely rarely or ever dip my toes in a Base Village aquatic center. But, one thing I notice as a regular of the rec center is that very few tourists use it. If there was a really nice aquatic center within eyesight and an elevator ride of their hotel rooms and condominiums, wouldn't visitors be attracted to use it? In large numbers? And, couldn't a well-designed, super hip beach at the Base actually be an amenity that would have attracted visitors here? Maybe the whole debate should have boiled down to this simple question: Hey kids, what do you want to do this afternoon, go to the Discovery Center and look at mammoth bones or head on down to that cool aquatic center and splash around while mom and I read and work on our tans?

It seems that every time we enter into negations with Related over tweaks in their original agreement with us we end up on the short end of the stick. Here we are again.

Roger Marolt is weary of outthinking ourselves on the Base Village debacle. roger@maroltllp.com

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