Letter: Why does the city need such a large building? | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Why does the city need such a large building?

I attended the proposed City Hall open house last night. I also attended one last spring.

With all due respect, I find the size and scope of the buildings at 70,000 square feet to be unacceptable. In my opinion, the project as planned appears to be wasteful and unnecessary. Based on other city managed projects I’ve witnessed, I can only assume that it will come in over budget and late. Taking on a project of this scope is not an efficient use of city of Aspen’s vast financial assets and time.

The town is under construction fatigue already. Don’t you see that? Whenever the real estate market picks up, the quality of life goes down. Many of your constituents feel that way.

On a number of occasions I asked mildly specific questions about “the numbers.” I never get an answer. I always get directed to Jack Wheeler. Jack never has the numbers “off the top of his head,” which sort of surprises me. So I’m taking the initiative of attempting to schedule a meeting with Wheeler to better understand the true demand for space. Based on my questions and the answers I received at the open house, it seems like the city truly needs about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. Maybe it’s 15,000 square feet. That would be humble and modest.

Why build 70,000 square feet? That is hardly “humble and modest,” as Adam Frisch suggested it should be during the May campaign. The city of Aspen needs the biggest building in town?

Almost everyone in Aspen has a trade-off in exchange for our lifestyle. People live in tiny spaces. The cost of living is off the charts. Almost everyone gives up something or makes due with a less than perfect situation. Consider the hypothetical bartender with an advanced degree who has three roommates and lives in a dorm at age 40.

I don’t understand the desire to build such a large building. I’m going to follow up with Jack Wheeler in an attempt to put a number on the true demand for space. I’ll let you know my findings.

Andy Israel


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