Time to pitch in | AspenTimes.com

Time to pitch in

Ramped-up construction is as much a part of the spring as mud on the trails. But in the coming weeks, we’ll witness the demolition of a cou­ple of downtown buildings that have needed an overhaul for a long time.

The Aspen Volunteer Fire Depart­ment and the Thrift Shop of Aspen, the two cinder block buildings in the 400 block of Hopkins Avenue, will be demolished to make room for two new structures. It’ll be about a year before the women who volunteer at The Thrift Shop will be able to move into their new expanded digs, and a full two years before volunteer firefighters roll their engines into the new station.

In the meantime, locals can expect a not-so-subtle cultural shift for both of these enduring organizations. The Aspen Fire Protection District has moved the majority of its firefighting equipment to a new station across from the Aspen Airport in the North 40 neighborhood. During construction of their in-town station, one fire truck will be temporarily housed next to the county building on Main Street. It’ll be the first time since 1963 that the fire department and all of its volunteers won’t have a meeting area in the cen­ter of town.

As for The Thrift Shop, steadfast bar­gain hunters and locals that donate goods to the nonprofit will find the shop’s temporary location at 312 E. Hyman Ave., between the Crystal Palace and the former Mother Lode restaurant. After today, donations won’t be accepted at the traditional location behind the old shop ” they’ll be taken at the new location beginning in mid-May.

We’ll all have to endure the incon­venience of the construction zone on Hopkins Avenue, but before the eye rolling commences, the fire depart­ment and The Thrift Shop are holding a party to bid the cinder blocks farewell, from 3-9 p.m. this Saturday, with live music, food and a wrecking­ball pinata.

We hope Aspenites rally around the pending rebirth of these two organiza­tions that give so much to Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. Just as the fire­fighters are committed to our safety, The Thrift Shop gives all of its proceeds back to local nonprofits ” around $2 million, just since 2000. We can all afford to be patient with construction inconveniences for the next two years. And don’t forget ” while voters overwhelmingly passed the $14-million bond to fund the fire department’s two new stations, The Thrift Shop is still raising the $2.1 mil­lion needed to pay for its new store­front. Whilst the shop’s volunteers are three-quarters of the way to raising that large sum of money, they still need help from all of us.

Look around at all of the volunteers ” from the fire department and The Thrift Shop ” at the festivities Satur­day and consider the value of these organizations. You’ll probably agree that it’s time to pitch in.

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