With ‘friends’ like these… | AspenTimes.com

With ‘friends’ like these…

Dear Editor:Our Recycle Center is a muddy, trash-strewn mess. The proposed recycle center uses recycled materials, produces its own energy, includes berms and trees and enables our wheelchair bound friends and neighbors to finally fully participate in the recycling process.The Friends of the Rio Grande Park (FORGP) would prefer keeping the present, unworkable situation to preserve Oklahoma Flats’ views. Honestly, they should have called themselves the Friends of Keeping Our Views (FOKOV), as that has been the motivating force behind their position. “FOKOV” has raised nearly $10,000 (primarily from two contributors) to “educate” the public but actually to ensure the best zoning they can buy. I must counter their misleading representations.According to their mass mailing, buildings, traffic, safety and cost are the issues. My response is:1. These are not buildings in the traditional sense. They are shelters-simple enclosures preventing blowing trash, wind, rain and snow from whipping around the recycle center soaking the recycle materials.2. The traffic layout improves the safety of pedestrians, is wide enough for two cars to pass and was vetted by recycle haulers.3. The safety concerns are completely exaggerated. The roofs cannot be used by skateboarders, because there is no access to them, and they are constructed of solar collectors and grass. Ever try to skateboard on grass?4. This project will not cost $1 million. The estimated cost is $737,000 (admittedly, expensive enough without the exaggeration). The city will pay for it with Obermeyer’s contribution ($375,000) and a grant from CORE ($50,000). The city’s contribution is about $312,000 (per the preliminary budget of 6/14/06). Nearly 60 percent of the targeted funds for this project are coming from independent sources – a fair price for an essential public facility.They claim the proposal’s sole purpose is to hide it from the condo owners at Obermeyer Place. Not so. It may have been Obermeyer’s motivation, but not the city’s. Our goal was a functionally and aesthetically improved the recycle center – one walking the talk and educating us about recycling and markets for recycled products. The proposal benefits everyone, including those at Obermeyer Place and the neighbors in Oklahoma Flats funding the opposition drive.These “friends” have proposed no solutions. They would have you believe trees and berms are sufficient to address the problems. Not so. They are insufficient as they’d leave the problem of blowing trash and the impacts of wind, rain and snow. Only an enclosure solves these problems.With “friends” like these, intent on preserving their views while sacrificing a functional, green, community program, recycling in Aspen doesn’t need any enemies. Educate yourself about the proposed recycle center – view the proposal at City Hall or the current recycling center, or visit the website http://www.aspenpitkin.com. Or, call me at 948-9874.I encourage the voters to support the proposed recycling center with a Yes vote on 2C, as a No vote will keep the mess we have and encourage those wanting the best zoning big money can buy.Jack JohnsonAspen City Council

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