Marolt: A white elephant in mammoth’s clothing | AspenTimes.com

Marolt: A white elephant in mammoth’s clothing

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic
Roger Marolt

I think the rec center is too small. It didn’t used to be, but then it got popular. It was just too good of an idea to not become so. I think planners were a little nervous about whether anybody would use it so they underdid it. It was the only thing they got wrong about it.

I love the rec center. It’s light. It’s bright. It’s warm and welcoming. It is a community social center conveniently located and the parking is easy. Oh, and yes, it is a great place to workout. You can take all kinds of fitness classes. You can ride, row or log miles on the machines. You can swim. You can pump iron. It’s set up to host any kind of game you want that requires a wood floor and a ball. Outside, you can ice skate in the winter and play tennis in the summer. There’s a skate park, if that’s your thing. You can play beach volleyball, if that’s your other thing. It’s a great place to start and end a run, a bike ride, a hike, or a cross-country ski outing. You can soak in the hot tub anytime of year. On top of everything else, it’s affordable and the staff is friendly.

If you have never been, I would tell you to go and check it out. The problem is that I am selfish and I was there first and I could use a little more room to stretch out, so I think it’s best if you just take my word for how great the Snowmass Recreation Center is and then go sign up for an annual membership at the Snowmass Club. I heard they have plenty of room, new owners and you will probably get your money’s worth if you have a large family that likes to work out every day and you eat a lot of apples. Look, I used to be a member there. It was great.

OK, I’m feeling good about all the snow we suddenly have, so I am going to give you another opinion this week at absolutely no extra charge; two for the price of one. Can you dig it? Alright, here it is: I don’t think the town’s commercial unit in Base Village is a community amenity. We ended up with it because somebody used the terms “asset” and “amenity” interchangeably.

The developers came up with the idea of giving us commercial space in Base Village as a required community amenity since they could build the $6 million asset for only about $4 million. Snowmass Town Council thinks the space is an asset because real estate is the way to get rich around here. The Ice Age Discovery people think it is a community amenity because they overestimate the value of mammoth bone replicas to the average person. Outside of these groups, I don’t think many others see that piece of property as a community amenity that will enhance their lives in any way at all.

I don’t think the ideas for utilizing our community asset are compelling enough to draw many people to go see it, unless they decide to rent it to Lululemon or a pot shop. Even then, I doubt it will ever be as popular as our rec center.

OK, now I’m on a roll. Since the skiing is so very good now, I’m going to do it — I am going to give you a third opinion. That’s three in one column. I’m not even sure that’s legal!

I think the town of Snowmass Village should sell our community asset. The proceeds could go to expand the rec center.

Yes, I understand that we would take a bath on the deal. There is no way we could sell that piece of real estate for anything close to the $6 million buckaroos we paid for it, but something is better than nothing, which is what I think the current community amenity is worth to most folks.

If we sold our commercial stake in Base Village for even $4 million, that sum would go a long way in expanding the rec center. And I’m pretty sure it will have to be expanded sooner rather than later. It simply isn’t large enough to service our community into the future. I’m convinced we will have to expand the rec center before the last nail is driven in at Base Village.

I think it’s OK to exchange our gift from the developers. They knew it was a white elephant when they gave it to us.

Roger Marolt can’t envision a good use for the community space in Base Village that a professional retailer couldn’t do better. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.


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