Letter: An acceptable compromise for City Hall
The City Council is seemingly deadlocked over the direction forward for new city office space. The diverse, well-meaning and soundly based views present starkly different visions. One reason for the quagmire is that the staff has presented a decision matrix containing a complex blend of objective and subjective criteria such that any number of paths exist. But even the most severe critics acknowledge that doing nothing is not a path forward but rather a blind alley.
How then to reconcile the competing positions and get on with the task? Here is a suggestion built on the comments of the mayor on July 19.
Remodel City Hall as the executive offices for the council, manager, attorney and clerk because it is our City Hall, located in the center of the city, and a visible symbol of Aspen (i.e., see logo on the city website). Since the above-mentioned functions have stable “people counts,” this space can be designed for their use for many decades.
Build new (but smaller), state-of-the-art, agile space at Galena Plaza as the administrative offices because the city needs to consolidate and modernize offices. By innovative and flexible design, the building can be reconfigured (as it certainly will to be) in the future to meet shifting demands.
Repurpose the Old Power House after its use as temporary office space ends because there is a clamoring for more public space and a desire on the part of the city to satisfy at least a part of the demand.
Importantly, the strident advocacy of the presenters, including the city manager, needs to be tempered. It has become polarizing and is not constructive. As a city, we need to move forward — now — and a well-reasoned compromise that a solid majority of both the council and the public can support is required.
Neil B. Siegel
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