What shall we put in the roundabout? | AspenTimes.com

What shall we put in the roundabout?

Everyone had an opinion on the roundabout before it was built, and it appears plenty of folks have an opinion about what should go into its center.

In fact, The Aspen Times received 133 suggestions – ranging from humorous to serious to vitriolic – in response to its poll on what should grace the center of our newest traffic device.

There were also plenty of suggestions of a political nature. Since the political debate over the roundabout has gone on for far too long already, we decided to stay away from political-oriented entries.

Many called for the county commissioners’ heads to be placed within the traffic circle. Susan Kern suggested, “Let’s decorate the roundabout with old-fashioned stocks so we can lock all the nasty letter writers in them and throw rotten fruit at them as we drive by.”

County Commissioner Mick Ireland and former Mayor John Bennett were frequently suggested as candidates for statues. And Annelee Stelram suggested everyone throw a boot in the roundabout each morning as way to encourage the booting out of office of Tony Hershey, Tom McCabe and Patti Clapper, the three elected officials who spoke against the building of the traffic circle.

The rest of the entries were roughly divided into serious and not-so-serious ideas. Instead of one award for the best entry, The Aspen Times will award a one-month parking pass at the Rio Grande Parking Garage for both the top serious and humorous entries.

Among those who chose to use the poll as a chance to register a serious opinion about what image should greet drivers as they enter the new Entrance to Aspen, many liked the idea of low foliage and fountains. The design offered by the engineers – foliage, a rock wall and native trees – was also popular.

People were adamant that the design not be tacky or glitzy, and many also asked that the design not block the view across the roundabout.

The Aspen Times favors the entry from Susan Shapiro of Basalt, who suggested work by local artists be displayed in the center. Every six months or so, the exhibit would be changed to keep the look of the entrance fresh and give numerous artists a chance to show their work.

This could easily be combined with the suggestions of native plants and trees. Foliage could surround the artwork in the center.

The Aspen Times editors went round and round over the funniest of the bunch, and finally decided on the entry from R.S. Berry – “A large sculpture of a running stag. What better symbol of modern Aspen than a place of worship of the fast buck?”

There were a number of anonymous, but amusing suggestions, making it difficult for us to pick a winner (although that is partly our fault because we left no designated spot on the entry forms for names).

Honorable mentions include: “The Tomb of the Unknown Celebrity,” “Standing Man directing traffic,” “an ambulance,” “a giant suggestion box,” “a tree museum,” “a Starbuck’s coffee shop, complete with driveup window,” and “instructions.”

It was hard to tell whether some suggestions were meant to be taken lightly or not. Many entries, for example, suggested an overpass or underpass, and a stoplight was a frequent idea. Lanny Curtis drew a picture of a straight four-lane highway, complete with exit and entrance ramps.

So to our winners – R.S. Berry and Susan Shapiro – congratulations! We will be contacting you soon about your prizes. And to everyone who sent in entries, thanks for helping out.

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