Editorial: Will Aspen City Council decision result in more quality or complication?
It’s a courteous move the Aspen City Council is making in appointing a resident committee to help narrow the field of potential suitors for the soon-to-be-vacant riverside space currently occupied by the Aspen Art Museum.
But as some council members suggested Tuesday, it’s not necessary. Councilwoman Ann Mullins pointed out that the city already has gathered plenty of feedback on space — such as letters from the public, resident input at open houses and public meetings at council chambers, including an open forum where more than a dozen people offered suggestions.
Councilman Art Daily wondered whether the council was complicating the process by adding one more round of review, and Mayor Steve Skadron and Councilman Adam Frisch were nearly swayed in that direction.
We appreciate Councilman Dwayne Romero’s desire to improve the quality of the decision by involving a resident committee, but how much meaningful purpose will this committee add? As Skadron said, the council reserves the right to consider any application that has been discarded by the committee.
Furthermore, six tangible ideas were offered for the space at the public forum, including Aspen Science Center, Powerhouse Performing Events Center, Aspen Media Powerhouse, hostel beds, a microbrewery and incubator space for entrepreneurs. Of course other ideas, ones not presented, could enter the race in the coming weeks. But if the number remains at six, the committee — tasked with narrowing the field to between three and five applicants — might end up weighing lightly on the final decision, especially if the council disagrees with the cuts.
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There’s also the issue of biases from members of the committee affecting the decision. Imagine the jockeying for these seats that will ensue and what kind of agendas could possibly fill them.
The council was elected by the public to make these types of decisions. It’s a noble move involving one more round of public input, but it might add more complication than quality to the decision.
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