Negotiations are underway between the city of Aspen and the group planning to take over the old Power Plant building. As Carolyn Sackariason reports, the municipal government isn’t the only entity the group has to negotiate with.
It has been one year almost to the day that City Council approved the nonprofit known as the Aspen Power Plant as the newest operator of the 7,000-square-foot building, located off of North Mill Street along the banks of the Roaring Fork River. The group plans to operate a brewery and a television studio, and provide business incubator offices and event space.
A lease and operating agreement was given to the operators a few weeks ago by the city. The operators sent back a counter-proposal which will be reviewed by council in executive session in the near future.
Key negotiating terms designed to quell concerns from residents in the nearby Oklahoma Flats neighborhood are provisions that deal with hours of operation, rules regarding amplified music and special events, and on-site parking.
Barry Crook is assistant city manager.
“We have agreed we would test this with neighbors who have expressed concerns to see if this satisfies those concerns. I don’t have an expectation that it will satisfy 100 percent of all of them but we will see how good we can get," he said.
The Power Plant operators have been instructed to negotiate directly with their neighbors, some of whom have suggested a lawsuit against the city if this type of use is allowed.
David Cook, owner of the TV station Aspen 82 and publisher of the Aspen Daily News, says he and his partners have been in constant contact with nearby residents and are ready to move forward, especially since it has been a back-and-forth for a year now.
“So we’ve really done everything that the neighbors have asked us to do and some part of me believes that a lot of the red tape that has been put up was in hopes of us walking away from the project but everything was very reasonable so we’ve adhered to and addressed everything the city and the neighborhood association had asked of us," he said.
Cook hopes his group takes over the building by mid-summer. The library is scheduled to move out this spring.