Letter: Frank Lloyd Wrong

The recent article about the City Council favoring a new City Hall at Galena Plaza is emblematic of the growth and development problems that plague Aspen (“City of Aspen moves forward with Galena Street relocation plan,” The Aspen Times, Aug. 3). The argument that building a new municipal plaza is more cost-effective than renovating the Armory is unavailing. Please take a moment to think about the buildings that define our historic, small Colorado town. I would list the Wheeler, the Jerome, the Main Street courthouse and the Armory. We would all laugh if someone suggested we should replace the Wheeler with a multiplex, change the Jerome to a Holiday Inn or build a new glass courthouse building, even if they were more efficient. But that is exactly what is happening with the proposed Galena Plaza. The renderings are beautiful and would be perfect for downtown Los Angeles, but as I have said before, they fit in Aspen like a bicycle fits in a bra.

Besides, the current Armory building, which is directly across from Peach’s Cafe, allows each of us to interact with our elected officials on a daily basis. I love the fact that I can chat with Mayor Steve Skadron or our councilmen, whom I consider to be not just politicians and civic leaders but my good friends. Isn’t that what small-town America should be like? Why would we want to isolate our elected officials in a “municipal plaza” where we would rarely have the opportunity to share our views over a latte?

I am delighted that Bert Myrin appreciates the fact that this type of overdevelopment is exactly what the people of Aspen reject. Why are we tearing down Rubey Park to build a mega-transport center? Why did we spend millions on Veloci-RFTA bus stations? The answer is that, like the trust-funders who buy Ferraris and yachts because they can, we have too much money and too little common sense in this town. The city and county have become the worst growth offenders with the least aesthetic solutions. The proposed Municipal Plaza is the architectural equivalent of Frank Lloyd Wrong for Aspen. Please stop blaming the tourists and second-home owners for our growth problems. To borrow a line from Shakespeare, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Jerry Bovino