Aspen City Council drunk on its ineptitude
When the prior Aspen City Council decided on a two-site solution — new administrative offices and retaining the armory building as City Hall — it set forth a vision. Specifically, it was that the existing building, long known and used (at least 70, perhaps 90 years) as “City Hall” would be retained as the seat of local government. It carried with it a potential for new council chambers on the top floor with sweeping views of Aspen Mountain and offices for mayor and top officials in that renovated structure. Administrative offices for remainder would be housed in the new building. There was a price tag associated with the two-site plan but it was deemed to be an acceptable trade-off to carry out the vision.
In contrast, the present council is caught in the quicksand of indecision with no direction. It is now mired in the minutia, severely myopic, and without a guiding concept of how all the pieces should fit together. Having fussed over a large part of the puzzle (location of council chambers), as well as a small part (where to put Aspen Chamber Resort Association), it destroyed the overall vision of the plan it inherited, one which honored community values, our historic past and set forth a logical division of functional activities. That has been replaced with … nothing, except the expectation that council will sink deeper in the mire.
Alarmingly, this latest incarnation of council has reaffirmed a pervasive hallmark of some of its predecessors: a penchant to micro-manage and discuss things to death, while costs continue to increase. Any guesses on the number of change orders and the final cost for this project due to that ineptitude?
Neil B. Siegel
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