Letter: The community will choose
November 23, 2014
The community will choose
I would like to offer a few thoughts in response to Su Lum's opinion column in The Aspen Times on Wednesday ("When is a choice not a choice?"). One of the City Council's top-ten goals is to implement a facility master plan. This plan, led by RNL Architecture and Charles Cunniffe and Associates, identified the four options presented to the council as the best use of our currently held real estate assets to provide solutions to our long-term space requirements. These four options were reduced to two as the result of extensive public input. Even the two remaining options contain so many variables that we are actually looking at probably dozens of possibilities before a final decision is made. Lum's article is based on a recent article in the Aspen Daily News titled "Future city hall: Community must choose one." Obviously, at some point, one option must be chosen. It is important to note that the community will do the choosing, not city staff.
The statement that we are growing from occupied space of 30,000 square feet to 81,000 square feet is not accurate. We currently occupy some 50,000 square feet and the plan contemplates increasing that to 77,000 square feet, which includes:
• 50,000 square feet in currently occupied space (24,500 square feet of leased space that we must soon vacate and replace), including 6,000 square feet currently occupied by the Police Department
• 16,000 square feet for Police Department space so that victim interviews do not have to be conducted in hallways, locker-room space for officers is created, evidence storage is adequate — in short so that the Police Department can function as a department. This represents an increase of 10,000 square feet over current conditions and is the largest contributor to the new space being contemplated.
• 30 percent in new common space — hallways and bathrooms that meet current code and more meeting space
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• Only 3,000 square feet to meet a 50-year growth projection
Office space for employees is not being increased. No one is getting a bigger office. The community gains more room to conduct business in city facilities. The Police Department gains additional space in order to perform its function and correct truly abysmal conditions. A small amount of space is being contemplated for future growth over a 50-year planning horizon.
Pitkin County (dealing with their own space needs) has told us we have to move out of the Courthouse and Annex Building. The sale and imminent redevelopment of the Daily News building forces us to relocate multiple departmental operations out of that location. We have decided to remove office functions from the Yellow Brick child care facility. We have to find additional space and think we should own that space, not rent it.
The city has hosted two open houses for the public and received much support from the residents that took the time to attend the process. We will continue the process of public engagement throughout the project. Please participate. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org directly with questions or concerns.
Public Works Director, City of Aspen