February 15, 2008
A number of months back the Aspen Club & Spa had an idea. That idea was to make a series of improvements to the current facility. After much to-do about really nothing, they pulled their plans, regrouped, and have now put together a new and improved project.
On February 19th, Planning & Zoning is going to talk about the new Aspen Club & Spa plan to renovate through updating and expanding the facility, and thus creating an amenity worthy of Aspen, it visitors, and locals.
The problem facing the Aspen Club is twofold. First, to move forward they will need to build, to some degree, a new facility. Given that they are trying to work within the walls already in use as much as possible, the truth is they will still need to expand to some extent. The second hurdle, and it’s a big one, is the current city council seems to be on a NO vote track when it comes to construction impact on the citizens, which to some degree they should be. The question is “to what degree?” To put the Aspen Club in the same box as Cooper Street, or the Weinerstube is unfair.
The reason this project should go forward is also twofold. First, it is not in the middle of town, therefore the impact on the town, visitors, and locals will only be felt by those who use the facility – which seems fair to me. The second reason a YES is in order – we are losing amenities faster then presidential candidates dropped out of the 2008 race.
The Aspen Club is an amenity the community can’t afford to lose to another housing project. I am not suggesting council will not embrace the new proposal. What I am saying is that based on current actions, the Aspen Club could be doomed to a lack of understanding in respect to what it brings to the community. Not being able to relate to the business should not be the reason to vote against it.
I would suggest city council do some old fashion homework, visit the club, talk to the members and visitors, and check in with the local non-profits. The Aspen Club has been one of the best citizens in respect to supporting local charities over the years. If council does that, I think it will be difficult to vote NO – which it should be. While being a good citizen might not be a reason to vote YES – it should at the very least be considered.
Finally this thought. If character counts – the Aspen Club has plenty of it.