Aspen has lost its touch

Having visited Aspen in late June for a memorial service for the amazing man Greg Smith (my son’s Aspen Big Buddy who died in a tragic cycling accident last year), I couldn’t help but feel like a stranger, although I resided in the valley for over 14 years.

As much as I love the look and feel of Aspen, it has changed so much to accommodate the wealthy tourists that I wonder how the locals are feeling. I have some very dear and close friends who don’t even want to spend time in Aspen because they can’t park anywhere, everything‘s too expensive, and they also feel like strangers in their home. The recent bike lane is another example of the town alienating folks that need to get things done (work, shopping, business, dining). The debate about the S-curves and the traffic build-up in the evening hours and people sneaking through the West End to get home has been going on for so long, it’s ancient history.

My former colleague Richie Cohen (RIP) tried to effectuate change on that one, but as it is very apparent, there have been zero progress and more aggravation for the locals who serve your community. I can’t help but wonder who is making these decisions? Perhaps having several town hall meetings offered to everyone in Pitkin County might give the decision-makers a better perspective as to how to make compromise between the wealthy tourists and the locals who are your bread and butter.

In the end, many locals choose to leave as I did. If that trend continues, where will you be … really?

Wendy Hemingway

Henderson, Nevada