Lai: A better use for Armory
For several years, a determined group of Aspenites has worked tirelessly to persuade the city of Aspen to return the Armory, which for years was City Hall, to its previous use as an asset for community events, filled with vitality and joy as well as — now, it is hoped — an all-season, indoor festival marketplace modeled after the summertime Saturday Market.
Recently, we learned that the city is considering leasing the main floor of the structure for offices of federal and nonprofit organizations — a bureaucratic use, which would effectively reduce the utility of the basement, as well.
Even worse, the city is contemplating entering into a public-private partnership with a likely profit-oriented entity, which would hobble the ability of the voting public to manage this heritage property — as if Independence Hall and the Maroon Bells would be contractually obligated to Walt Disney Enterprises.
Years ago, an earlier City Council wisely rejected such as association. Citizens be aware!
Barbara and Richard Lai
Aspen and Los Alamos, N.M.