Three ballot questions win by large margins |

Three ballot questions win by large margins

Mike Hagan

There is no question how the voters felt about the questions on yesterday’s ballot – all three measures passed comfortably.

As a result, residents of Aspen will get new additional housing at Truscott Place, a full slate of improvements to recreational facilities as well as some new ones, and another 10 years’ worth of money from the affordable housing/day-care tax.

Question No. 1, the Recreation Facilities Revenue Bond question, passed by a margin of 1,455 to 332. Voters authorized increasing Aspen’s debt by $13,894,000 with a maximum repayment cost of $24,100,000. One of the reasons the measured easily passed, say some, is that it won’t require an increase in existing taxes.

Question No. 2, which authorizes extension of the .45-percent affordable housing and day-care sales tax, passed 1,386 to 397. The 10-year extension guarantees money will be set aside until June 30, 2010, for such things as acquiring land for housing, building housing, tuition for parents who can’t afford child care, and improving local child-care programs.

And Question No. 3, expansion of the Truscott Place affordable housing project, passed by a vote of 1,304 to 443. As a result, three acres of open space that has been used as a dirt pile near the current apartments will become home to between 80 and 100 new rental units.

The recreation bond is the first such bond to pass the muster of Aspen voters in several elections. Jeff Woods, director of the city’s parks department, believes this question was successful because it addresses the recreational needs of a large group of Aspen residents.

“It provides a cohesive vision for the community,” he said. “And we will see improvements to all our parks.”

Past recreation bond requests were mostly tied to one facility, such as a new skating rink or swimming pool. This, however, will meet those recreational needs, as well as improve trails, upgrade facilities at the golf course, provide improvements to local ball fields and a host of other projects.

“It was community-based planning that was weaved together into a community project,” Woods said.

A large chunk of the planning for the projects has already been completed, and much of the work proposed in the question will be completed by the end of 2001, he said.

Passage of Question No. 3 opens the door for the expansion of Truscott Place. Lee Novak, project manager for the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority, said the project will also allow for a redesign of the streets surrounding the present complex, giving it “a more neighborhood feel.”

He expects the final project will add somewhere around 100 new rental units to the Housing Authority’s inventory.

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