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Blumenthal: Nothing but good things to say

Mel Blumenthal
Second View
Mel Blumenthal

We recently returned to Snowmass after several months in the big city and were overwhelmed by all the lush and colorful early-summer vistas surrounding our little piece of paradise. The grasses are greener, the flowers more vibrant and the natives a good deal happier than I can remember in a long time.

Of course there is still much left to do to get our resort core completed and in tip-top shape, but it appears we may now be on course to jump-start that process as long as the developer in charge pays strict attention to the desires and needs of the community.

Our community-serving Snowmass Center is taking a big step forward with a new, enlarged, state-of-the-art, full-service market opening soon to replace our beloved Village Market. Although I’ve been very critical of the change in ownership and the manner in which the change was made, I’m willing to put my hard feelings aside and give the new owner/operator a chance to prove itself and deliver on all the grand plans and promises it has made.

Sundance’s new location as well as its new store layout are wonderful upgrades to the center. I’ve been sworn to secrecy, but I’m advised there’s at least one new summer/winter recreation-related business coming to the center hallway, and hopefully other new community-serving businesses will set up shop in the not-too-distant future.

Although it might be a bit premature to throw out accolades to Krabloonik, I’m impressed and comforted so far by the new management’s accelerated efforts to correct many years of bad practices concerning the care of the sled dogs housed at this facility. From what appears to be a sensible plan to reduce the total dog population through a well-planned adoption program to an aggressive spay-and-neuter program as well as a concerted effort with the assistance of the Aspen Animal Shelter and Aspen Animal Hospital to upgrade the care, exercise and feeding of the dogs, it seems we finally may be on the road to achieving a humane canine facility as well as an attractive resort amenity that our community can be proud of.

Although we’re still in the early weeks of summer, it appears our tourism department and its events committee have been working in overdrive to provide a very attractive and entertaining selection of new and returning events. From my perch, all these events appear to be filling our town with new and returning guests who not only attend the events but also support our lodges, restaurants, bars and other resort-related businesses. At the end of summer, the metrics that are being collected will tell us whether and which events have added to our local lodges’ and merchants’ pockets as well as our town’s vibrancy and finances, but until then, let’s just have a good time and enjoy all that’s being offered.

The Ice Age Discovery Center located in the mall is in full operation and attracting many residents and guests interested in viewing the results of the internationally renowned discovery of prehistoric life in our backyard. I’ve been hearing rumors recently that guided tours will soon commence, providing close-up views of the Ziegler Pond dig site along with a recap of what has been learned so far from the extensive research and education programs currently underway.

A feasibility study commissioned by Snowmass Discovery with financial support from both public and private donations will soon be completed and presented to the community. Based on its findings, the study will likely provide guidance as to future plans and programs such as a permanent exhibition facility and educational center, where many more of the discovered remains will be exhibited and where scientists, educators and members of the public will gather to view and discuss the evolving results of this historically important find and its implications for the future of our planet and our environment. Pretty heady stuff for our fair village.

In closing, I want to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate our mayor and all the elected Town Council members, along with the valuable professional assistance of our town attorney, for coming together after many months of conflict and disagreement over the selection of a new, full-time town manager and unanimously appointing Clint Kinney to the position. With the resolution of this unfortunate distraction and difficult decision finally behind us, the council is now poised to concentrate fully on policy and planning decisions such as the completion of Base Village and the entryway, which will benefit our entire resort community as well as our guests.

I also want to thank Gary Suiter for all the good work he did and will continue to do as our interim town manager until mid-September, when Clint formally comes aboard. Gary functioned beyond the call of duty under very difficult circumstances. We owe him a debt of gratitude, not the least of which comes from me, who added a bit of fuel to the fire. Best wishes, Gary, and good luck on your future endeavors.

With nothing to find fault with this week, I’ll just continue enjoying life in the village and await your comments at secondview@earthlink.net.


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