Su Lum: Slumming | AspenTimes.com

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

There are few things that could induce me to say anything negative about the library. I love our library; I love our librarians. I cannot imagine life without their selection of books on CD.

But man, this proposed addition to the library is huge. And not only huge, but high.

After watching the City Council meeting about the library, I went over to see the “story poles” that show just how huge and how high.

Originally, these story poles were proposed to be up for only two days. Mick Ireland strongly objected and said two weeks would be more like it. I don’t know whether they’re still up, but you should check it out.

Another thing that turned up at the council meeting was that if the voters turned down the property tax in November, the library still could be built with private funds. Frankly, this made my blood run cold, and I was pleased that Mick objected to this, also.

Like, what the hell?

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Apparently the impression is that if voters turn the library expansion down, it will just be because of the money. A news article regarding an upcoming phone survey indicates that the questions we will be asked are ultimately about the money.

As a semi-fixed-income resident of an overvalued miner’s shack, I am not thrilled by the prospect of any addition to the more than $5,000 I now pay in property taxes (all those “It will only cost the price of a lunch twice a year” claims add up), and my objection to the addition is not about the money.

My problem with it is the size, the scale, the opportunity provided by the parking garage renovation as opposed to any critical need.

My sense is that the whole Galena Plaza project has gotten out of hand and that the root of it lies in the proposed Grand Staircase next to Taster’s. If you have a Grand Staircase, it has to lead to a Grand Plaza.

Aspen Valley Hospital is more out-of-hand than we expected, and the airport is going Grand beyond comprehension. If we keep going Grand, all new buildings will have to be Grander to keep up and be in keeping with the neighborhood, the town.

I do not “hang out” in the library – and am not sure I’d encourage that – but I visit it at least once a week, and I’ve never had the impression that it was overcrowded or that small children were endangered.

Au contraire – it has always been my view that the second story was considerable wasted space and that it would be easier to get around the circular rim if it were a solid floor. I thought that that was the original plan if the library needed more room.

What I’d really like to see at the library is more than two parking spaces. This could be accomplished by deepening the present parking spaces and making them angle-parking, but maybe I can’t understand the complexities involved.

If the parking garage is going to be refurbished, perhaps a few spaces next to the elevator could be dedicated to the library, whether it goes Grand or not. I hope not.

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