Challenging times ahead for town |

Challenging times ahead for town

Mel Blumenthal
Second View
Mel Blumenthal

From Basalt to Snowmass Village to Aspen, the upheavals and changes in elected leadership and key staff positions over the past several months have resulted in lots of uneasiness and concern on the part of many full- and part-time residents of these communities.

Key decision makers and implementers in each of these communities are undergoing change of volcanic proportions, leaving many of us who are concerned with the economic vitality and quality of life in our respective communities insecure as to what the future holds, particularly since many of the new faces will have little or no experience or familiarity with our communities or the issues we’ve been grappling with for quite some time.

Change is inevitable and often beneficial, but the magnitude of what we’re all simultaneously undergoing in the valley unfortunately portends danger down the road.

In Snowmass, we recently learned of the resignations of our town manager and Snowmass Tourism director and the retirement of our public works director. Searches for their replacements have been initiated or soon will commence, but in the interim and for the long term, the implications of all these changes occurring at the same time is of significant concern.

It will take a good deal of time for each replacement to get up to speed on the full agenda of critically significant issues and projects facing our community over the next several years as we continue to revitalize our resort-based economy following the fallow recession years we are just beginning to emerge from.

The job of finding highly qualified, quick-study candidates to fill these positions is a monumental task that will require our mayor and council members to steady the course and maintain a thoughtful and nonobstructive leadership role.

That unfortunately might be a lot more difficult than many might imagine. Those of us who spend time observing the workings and interpersonal relationships of our elected representatives have noted a deep divide and lack of synergy and understanding by the youngest members of the council, which is negatively impacting the town staff and working relationships and morale among council members and staff.

It’s time for all our elected leaders, including the youngest council members, to put their personal agendas aside, play by the rules as outlined in the home rule charter and municipal code and get on with the business of keeping our ship of state afloat while we traverse the choppy waters ahead.

On a brighter note, all full- and part-time residents are invited to attend the annual summer meeting hosted by the Part-Time Residents Advisory Board and the town of Snowmass Village from 3 to 6 p.m. on July 2 in the Council Chambers.

The meeting agenda includes Mayor Bill Boineau’s opening address and the town manager’s State of the Village report. Dwayne Romero, president of Related Colorado, will review Related’s plans for completion of the Viceroy Snowmass complex as well as its vision for the completion of the rest of Base Village and revitalization of the properties it owns on the mall and in the Snowmass Center.

John Rigney, chairman of the Ice Age Discovery Committee, and its new part-time executive director, Tom Cardamone, will deliver a presentation on all the new Ice Age Discovery attractions that will be in place this summer as well as a discussion of future plans. Fred Brodsky, the interim director of Snowmass Tourism and head of group sales, will update us on the events, programs and groups that will be in the village this summer.

John Mele, deputy chief/fire marshal of the Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District, will update us on fire safety and summer/fall wildfire issues. Kelly Vaughn, the town’s director of communications, will demonstrate the town’s new website and discuss the communitywide survey that will be conducted this summer.

And closing out the meeting, David Wasserman, managing partner of the Westin, Wildwood and Snowmass Conference Center ownership group, will update us on its operations and future plans.

The meeting will be followed by a reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the Westin lawn hosted by Snowmass Tourism, which is also open to the public. Come mingle with friends and neighbors while enjoying refreshments provided by the Westin and Snowmass Tourism.

I’ll be holding fort this summer at Fuel and Starbucks and as always can be reached at

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