Su Lum: Slumming |

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Sorry to Mary Eshbaugh Hayes for reporting that her book “Aspen Potpourri” was last updated in 1990, when in fact her latest edition came out in 2002, with all the original faces and recipes and Aspen tips from the earlier versions PLUS 50 more. Write to Mary at Box 497 (Aspen 81612) for a trip down memory lane.

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An important task before you is to go to and sign up for one of the public meetings now being held to get the public’s opinion about Aspen’s future, laying the groundwork for the new, revised Aspen Community Plan.

These are meetings of 20 people (they feed you), which are then broken up into groups of four to discuss one of various issues such as housing, historic preservation, environmental quality, et al., after which you move on to a second discussion on a different topic. The ideas from the small groups are then compiled and distilled, and will probably end up with a gigantic clicker-vote session for the whole town to vote on.

It is important to attend these early sessions because they will determine the questions at the end. In one of my four-person groups we were presented with red and green sticky dots and three statements. We were asked to put green stickers on the statements we agreed with and red on the ones we didn’t agree with. Suffice to say we ended up with one green sticker and all the rest were red, indicating a high degree of disagreement with the statements, so it behooves you to make your thoughts known now.

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WARNING: On Nov. 10 the City Council will be hearing the second reading of an ordinance proposed by the Aspen Institute, asking to tear down part of the side walls of Paepcke Auditorium in order to expand it and add 60 more seats.

Lordy lord. What could be more sacrosanct than a Herbert Bayer/Fritz Benedict Bauhaus building on the very spot of the embodiment of Walter Paepcke’s Aspen Idea?

The historic task force is presently struggling over the preservation of post-World War II buildings, and here is the Aspen Institute asking to defile the creme de la creme of the postwar era. If the public lets this happen without protest it will be a sad statement about our commitment to preservation.

A few years ago the Institute proposed renovations to Paepcke Auditorium, which included changing its name from Paepcke to Resnick in return for a hefty donation from the Resnicks. The town went ballistic, and the Institute responded with the weak argument that it was never really Paepcke Auditorium, it was just the Paepcke BUILDING. This did not fly at all, and in the end the Resnicks pulled out of the deal.

Enquiring minds are curious to know if there will be another proposed name change (I doubt it), why the historic preservation commission approved this in the first place, why council seems poised to give it final approval, and why the Institute would alter the lines of this historic building for the addition of a mere 60 extra seats.

Send your comments to City Council members before next Monday or, better yet, show up at the meeting.

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