Vote no on art museum

Dear Editor:

On Question 1 (in small print at the bottom of the May 5 ballot), voters of Aspen are asked “if they should approve the sale of the former Youth Center and its adjoining lots …”

Fact: This question is not to negotiate but it is to sell public property without giving the voters any sale price!

This is the last time the voters of Aspen can vote on this, because this question can never again be brought to referendum. However, once the Aspen Art Museum goes through the proper land-use approvals, they can always bring it back to the voters with written guarantees, uses and a sale price.

Issue: The Art Museum board, trustees and executive director cannot afford to buy private property in town, so they are more than likely getting this public property at a discount!

Issue: Expansion at the existing museum site is feasible and is allowed under the city land-use code. This is better than moving a new museum up the hill 100 yards, at the expense of tearing down an existing, functional building, and displacing 55 different community and civic groups that presently use the “former Youth Center building.”

Issue: Expanding the existing museum is more environmentally friendly than tearing down a 15-year-old structure, and erecting a 30,000-square-foot glass structure “energy hog.”

Issue: When the present art museum executive director, Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, came to town, approximately 7 years ago, and changed the purpose of the art museum from local and student use to contemporary traveling shows, the Roaring Fork Open show for local artists was eliminated; the Valley Kids Show, for students up and down the valley, was eliminated; The Young Artists of the Roaring Fork Valley was eliminated. Now that she and her trustees can possibly buy the most important, civic public property in town, without going through the proper approval process, they are shoving this before the voters: It is the “cart before the horse.” Why? It looks good on the executive director’s future resume, and it serves as a huge tax deduction for those contributing the money for it to be built. Lastly, Heidi can revel in her newly planned office on top of the seventh-floor glass tower, executive suite.

Fact: Art is not free, it is paid for dearly by selling out public property cheaply or discounted.

Issue: An unknown future council might repeat the mistakes of Burlingame and BMC. Don’t give a future council your right to make this decision now. Vote no on Question 1.

Jack Boyle