Blumenthal: Wheels keep turning in offseason
Right smack in the middle of offseason with many locals out-of-town and nary a part- timer in sight, things are extremely quiet in our fair Village. Fortunately I’ve picked up a hodgepodge of interesting tidbits to quench your thirst for enlightenment.
Roger Marolt recently opined on the use of cellphones in private and public toilet facilities. I must confess to an occasional transgression concerning this distasteful but oftentimes necessary practice. Although background sounds traveling through the airwaves during these conversations may be of concern to those on the other end of the phone, take comfort in our good fortune to live at a time when man’s technical and creative skills support our social and business interactions 24/7 from just about anywhere on our planet with the exception of the depths of Horse Ranch and Owl Creek roads.
A recent letter to the editor appeared in The Aspen Times discussing a housing concept I was not fully familiar with, but the more I thought about it the more interested I became. Since many of us are at or rapidly approaching the outer limits of the baby boomer generation, the thought of downsizing to a simpler more communal lifestyle along with friends of similar senior status and interests sounds appealing. Co-housing projects are beginning to sprout up throughout the country, and what better place than the Roaring Fork Valley to consider such a project. An individualized residential community accompanied by common recreational and necessary support facilities among folks with similar interests sounds pretty good to me and a great way to make room for the younger generations just beginning to start their own families. Now I just need to find a similarly minded group who’d be willing to spend the rest of their days with me and my big mouth.
I hear there’s an intensifying electrical charge in the air between some senior members of the town staff and Town Council. It’s pretty clear the staff’s agenda on several key issues is not in sync with the council’s or the community’s agenda. In spite of numerous and not-so-gentle hints, the staff is still hell bent on moving forward with the Brush Creek/Wood Road roundabout. Many in the community have weighed in against this very expensive, intrusive and unnecessary traffic mitigation project, and the council has told the staff on several occasions they know all they need to know at this point concerning the roundabout. They want to explore other alternative mitigation tools, but staff won’t back off and is holding up the process until they get their way.
As suggested in my last column, it will take extraordinary leadership from the mayor and Town Council to curtail the staff’s pursuit of their own agenda and focus their attention on the agenda put forth by Snowmass elected representatives. Apparently in his prior assignment, the new town manager and his staff ruled with an iron fist, and he obviously favors this approach. Unfortunately for him and his key lieutenants, that’s not the modus operandi in Snowmass Village, where we expect the staff to execute the policy decisions put forth by elected representatives and not the other way around.
Unless the town manager gets with the program pretty quickly, we’re likely headed for a trainwreck that will derail the expeditious completion of Base Village as well as the long aborning and labored planning process for completion of our town entryway and other important community projects.
Speaking of getting with the program, cleaning up various public spaces around town such as the junk piled up around the rodeo grounds, which has become a dumping area for construction waste, etc. as well as adding more decorative landscaping and lighting to publicly owned spaces such as the Brush Creek/Highway 82 intersection, should be a no-brainer. Although a recent letter to council from Leah Moriarty, a real estate broker and Snowmass Village resident, offered the council supported suggestions in this area, our town manager seemed a bit cool to these ideas instead, bringing up the oft-repeated excuse to continue doing nothing to spruce up the village arrival experience until plans gel for the completion of our entryway, which staff continually pushes to the back burner.
Some in the community have been discussing the possibility of combining our proposed Ice Age Discovery Center with the Aspen Science Center, which recently lost out in its bid to take over the old Aspen Power Plant. In theory this idea may have merit, but their space needs along with the space needs of our Ice Age Discovery Center far exceed the space available at any of the locations suitable for such a facility. In addition, the Science Center is opposed to a location in the heart of our resort core. They want the convenience of locating closer to Highway 82 in order to attract children and young adults from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. Our resort core and limited available space doesn’t fit their needs.
The best idea on the table is a combined ice-age facility and performing arts center for film, theater, music and dance, which could compatibly share an iconic piece of architecture at the heart of our resort on the town-owned Point Site in front of Town Hall.
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