Vote for two great base areas |

Vote for two great base areas

(Editor’s note: This letter was originally addressed to “Honorable Mayor Ireland and Aspen City Council”.)Dear Editor:I am sure that each of you has been giving careful thought to where you stand on the application to build the new Lodge at Aspen Mountain. This proposed new lodge has been presented, modified and re-presented numerous times over the past couple of years, each time with the developer taking to heart the comments and suggestions received and making improvements and modifications to the project.It will take great courage to vote in support of this project at this particular juncture of history in the great City of Aspen – much more courage than it will take to vote no.There is always great concern from citizens about more construction, questions about the need for another luxury hotel, consternation about the size of the building and the hot topic of employee housing. There are many reasons why you might be able to justify a rejection of the application.If you vote to approve the project there will be criticism, however this comes with leadership and you are already well prepared to handle critical voices. The real issue in play here is your vision of the future tourism economy of Aspen, and on this topic, this decision will be a watershed event.Aspen’s tourism economy has been vibrant over the past four years as it has successfully climbed out of the post Sept. 11 slump. It will not always be this way and there will be downturns in our future. However, if we continue to improve the tourism infrastructure of our city we will keep leading in the increasingly competitive resort market. This project will spark the revitalization of an entire neighborhood. Yes, a new lift will improve the skiing access and viability of future World Cup events, but more than this, Aspen Mountain will finally have two viable base areas that will enrich the character of this incredible mountain.The individual aspects of the project have been much debated, and if one were to draw up a list of pros and cons for this project there is much on the “pro” list to be proud of. The efficiency and innovation of the energy footprint is exceptional, the neighborhood support is overwhelming and the project will add much needed hotel rooms to what has been a shrinking inventory of tourist beds.On behalf of Aspen Skiing Company, I urge you to take the courageous step of approving this project.David PerrySenior vice presidentAspen Skiing Co.