The good supersedes what might not be perfect
“A vision without resources is a hallucination.” How true.
Su Lum is a dear friend. Still, I need to correct the assertion she made in her column last week in The Aspen Times (“Lift 1A project is no benefit to Aspen,” Jan. 7). It is technically correct but misrepresents the relationship the Aspen Historical Society has with the developers and the COWOP who have worked with the city to design the Lift One Master Plan.
The society does have a “lease” on Willoughby Park that allows us to build a museum whether or not the master plan goes through.
The community benefit that is elicited from the current master plan is that the hotel developers will provide the following:
– Move a historic, chalet-style building to Willoughby Park and deliver the building to us, completely restored with interior basic finishes, as well as a freight elevator to access all floors.
– Provide a full underground story beneath the chalet to help meet museum space requirements.
– Restore the original Lift 1A terminal and other on-site historic relics.
– Grade and landscape both Willoughby and Lift 1A parks.
– Create a desirable venue with vitality.
– Provide parking for museum visitors and (limited) staff.
These are direct benefits to the community and to the society. The value of these improvements to the historical society is in the range of $2 million to $2.5 million. This figure does not include the planning and approval expenses already expended by the development team on our behalf. Easily, with subsidiary benefits, it is closer to $4 million.
If the master plan is not approved a capital campaign to raise all the dollars necessary will be required. We would have to fund this on our own. We are restricted from using district funds for this project.
We have exciting preliminary plans for a building, and we believe it is important for us to find a way to make it work. However, without developer support the specter of a capital campaign is indeed an apparition. The timeline is likely 10 to 15 years rather than three to five. Meanwhile:
– The targeted chalet-style building will not be moved nor will it likely remain, although that is not our purview.
– The cost of all on-site restoration will have to be part of the aforementioned capital campaign so the park continues to sit in ruin for an undetermined amount of time.
The size of the capital campaign is likely to exceed $9 million and even more with planning and approvals added in. For us, what is good by far supersedes what might not be perfect in this master plan. It is impossible to meet everyone’s desires and downright frustrating to contemplate demands that don’t take into account property rights. I hope the due diligence of the COWOP will prevail.
Executive director, Aspen Historical Society
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