Letter: Repurposing City Hall
October 22, 2015
In 1945, Aspen city offices relocated to the Armory for one reason: It had a boiler. The City Council at that time was looking for a place to meet with heat. So they moved.
The decision point to relocate city offices is upon us again. This time, we have a chance to define our future based on more than a thermostat. When I think beyond the boiler room, what interests me are ways to create warm social spaces that foster community.
This election is a perfect opportunity to do that. We have a chance as voters to chart our course in a way that supports this vision. Voting "community use" for 2B means repurposing the Armory into a vibrant community center and building a fiscally responsible, sustainable City Hall on Galena Plaza. This is a 50-year plan to create civic amenities, and we must think that far into the future as decision makers — I as a council member and you as a voter.
Since 2000, the city has been aware that its space needs would become a problem downtown. Two years of extensive research looked at every option for city facilities. The Armory is not the best for city offices. But I think a community center is a best use. When I think about returning it to its historical configuration, filled with dances, music, senior happenings, science exhibits, film, theater and events we can't even imagine yet, those are the things that draw us together and deepen our connections.
We have heard in all of our public-input meetings that residents prefer one location for City Hall. This is a 50-year plan to provide public service that will stand the test of time, not a Band-Aid approach that reuses buildings that could better serve other community needs today and into the future.
I think this is a win for Aspen and its residents. Please join me and vote "community use" on 2B.
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Mayor, city of Aspen