Roger Marolt: Anyone note the nucleus of Snowmass Village is a strip mall? | AspenTimes.com

Roger Marolt: Anyone note the nucleus of Snowmass Village is a strip mall?

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic

Roger Marolt

Can you believe they want to tear down our beloved town center and replace it with some modern monstrosity of a get-rich-quick real estate project that we will have to live with for the next half century, if history is any guide? It's time to rally the citizenry before another swatch of our community's fabric is woven into an invisible cloak to hide authenticity. I am afraid we will wake up one day and find ourselves gagging on a chunk of cookie-cutter faux frosted town center development with sprinkles that belongs on Main Street Disneyland and we'll be crying, one and all, in perfect harmony, "Oh my! What have we done?" We must make our elected officials know how strongly we feel about this. We have to stop this assault on the sensibilities of decency and rational thought — now.

Just kidding.

Go ahead and give the new town center project the green light, as far as I'm concerned. No, I don't need to see the plans. No, I don't care how big or ugly it might turn out. Honestly, anything they do up there will be an improvement. How soon can they get going?

I mean this. I glanced at the drawings of the proposed new town center development and all I could think was, "I'm sorry some poor architect spent all that time drawing the new buildings with shiny plug-in electric cars parked out front on velvety, sanitary asphalt; happy people milling all around the welcoming open space and beautiful gardens accenting the glass-fronted structures. There were young mothers with babies in strollers, lovers walking hand in hand, athletes jogging through with matching sweat suits. I think there was a person reading a thick book, lying supine on the plush lawn, no blanket necessary. Without seeing the sky, you just know it was cloudless by the crisp shadows so nicely etched in."

I was sorry because, as beautiful and professionally done as it was, it was completely unnecessary. This project doesn't require anything to convince anyone that it needs to be approved. All we need to know is that it is not going to be anything like the old town center. Thank you. Down comes the rubber stamp. WHAM! Get to work!

It is kind of a historic moment when you think about it. I doubt anyone can recall a time when something got built around here without rankling at least 49 percent of the population's sentimentality only to get the juices flowing about the good old days and how the building project de jour is going to somehow take all our memories and turn them into another designer boutique, penthouse or art gallery. We finally have a chance to do a development project without a lengthy process. There's a possibility we could do it without a single debate. If we had a meeting, would anyone bother to attend?

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Perhaps the silliest thing about Town Center is its two-tiered parking arrangement. While the upper level serves as our town's de facto Main Street, transit center, and overflow parking lot, the lower level — just a flight of stairs away — remains constantly as desolate as the top of Mount Daly on a stormy February night.

I have an idea: Let's all send a list of the top three things we will miss most about the existing town center to our Town Council. I predict this could result in a virtual information vacuum. I actually believe this could create the first black hole in broadband width. The worst-case scenario is that the complete lack of response might be enough impetus to begin the reversing of the information age.

Let's have a contest to see if anyone can come up with one single thing they like about the current town center. If they do, and it is proved legitimate, they get to decide what to do with our community retail space in Base Village. If they blow it out of the water and come up with two items, they get to name the roundabout art piece anything they want or move it to Basalt; their choice. If they can hit a trifecta of great things they like about town center, they get an authentic mammoth bone from Ziegler pond to mount above their fireplace along with a bronze plaque explaining in undecipherable jargon how valuable it is as a branding tool for our town.

I am, of course, exaggerating how bad the town center really is. Compared to the time when its second floor served as Town Hall, it is absolutely lovely today.

Roger Marolt wonders how a miniature 1970s strip mall became the center of our universe. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.