Endorsement: Snowmass voters should put support behind Goode, Shenk and Fridstein

Snowmass Sun/Aspen Times editorial board

With public and private development that is in the works and will touch every corner of our village and a housing shortage that is growing worse with each season, Snowmass Village residents are going to the ballot box having to make decisions for three seats at the village’s council table.

For the first time since 2016, residents will have to pick those who will represent them for the next two (mayor) and four (council) years, and we are putting our support behind Tom Goode as mayor and Alyssa Shenk and Tom Fridstein to fill the two council seats.

Let’s start with the easy choice. As most every full-time resident knows, Shenk is out representing the village in her role as a councilwoman but also as a well-engaged citizen. In her past six years on the council (she was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2014 and won the seat in the 2016 election), Shenk has worked tirelessly to understand all the issues at the table and comes prepared for each meeting.

She is known to ask pointed and thoughtful questions, whether it be on development or approving the village’s first marijuana dispensary. She is out at nearly every event in the village and volunteers when help is needed.

And given the makeup of the current board as well as the other candidates, she would represent the only female voice we know every elected board should have. She has children in the local schools and has the perspective of raising a young family in the village.

Of the other four candidates, we appreciate the background that Fridstein brings to the community and to the council table. As a visitor since before the village was incorporated and now a full-time resident, Fridstein has a deep connection to the area.

Additionally, his experience on the village’s Planning Commission and helping develop the 2018 Comprehensive Plan, as well as nearly 50 years as an architect, will bring invaluable perspective as the village works through a number of development issues in the coming years.

At the table are the plans for the Town Center remake, the Town Park redesign, the new Transit Center at the Snowmass Mall and the review of the next buildings at the expanding Base Village area.

But he also can give a unique look into the building of employee housing as well as the much-needed expansion of the Little Red School House.

Fridstein says he can give that perspective “to achieve maximum value for our community without disrupting our unique village.”

The decision for mayor is a tough one because on the ballot are two candidates who have served and been a part of the community for decades and most recently as town councilmen. Goode and Bill Madsen are about as good of candidates for the role as any we’ve had.

We like the way Goode has a direct approach to getting things done and knows when the time for consensus building and listening to all sides needs to be finished and a decision made. Consensus building is always the right approach, but at some point, the leader of the pack has to be willing to say, “here’s what I think the right thing to do is.” We see that more in Goode’s approach.

It is the mayor’s role to lead effective and productive meetings that guides council to make decisions and get things done. We feel Goode can be that leader, and we challenge him to do that.

We agree with Madsen’s belief that tourism is the most important thing for Snowmass, and he’s right that if you want it to be less sleepy, you have to have more visiting recreationists. But Goode’s right that a key piece of the economy will be more people living here (and helped with more rental units in affordable housing), spending time and money here and making the village more of a town.

An outdoor mecca is great and important, but without the “town” vibe and a vibrant shopping and dining scene (to Goode’s point), you’ll still end up with visitors who come to Snowmass for lodging and skiing, but go to Aspen for the rest. The problem won’t be solved without a focus on affordable housing and building community (nobody decides to come to Snowmass because they hear the entrance is great).

As well, Goode’s background in the construction world will be beneficial as the village continues to work on growth and housing challenges.

Of note, If Madsen wins, then the council will determine who gets that role (Goode has not said if he would apply for the opening). If Goode wins, Madsen returns to council to finish out the two years on his term.

Snowmass has a lot to build upon in the coming years, and we feel Alyssa Shenk, Tom Fridstein and Tom Goode will help the village approach these changes with thoughtful and experienced decision-making.

The Aspen Times/Snowmass Sun editorial board is comprised of publisher Samantha Johnston, editor David Krause, reporters Scott Condon, Rick Carroll and Carolyn Sackariason and copy editor/columnist Sean Beckwith. Mr. Carroll was not a part of this decision and endorsement as a member of his family is working on the Shenk campaign.