Aspen Public Radio

Your Morning News - January 27th, 2015

Jan 27, 2015

Aspen Approves Molly Gibson Lodge Plans

Aspen City Council approved a proposal to redevelop the Molly Gibson Lodge, last night. That includes building two single-family homes on a vacant lot next door. The plan is to demolish the existing lodge and replace it with a new three-story structure. City Council member Art Daily echoed a general sentiment among officials.

“I think it’s really very important to our community, this reconstruction of the lodge. I like the balance. And the single family homes, I think that they actually fit the context of the neighborhood in which they’re being placed.”

The new lodge will have 68 rooms and one affordable housing unit.

Council members decided to wait until the coming months to review lodging proposals from downtown developer Mark Hunt. Hunt is proposing two affordable hotels, but some council members and residents have raised questions about whether they’re a good idea.

Those decisions Monday night came after a heated debate about how City Concil should respond to a proposed ballot initiative. The locally organized effort would strip power from Council and put it in the hands of voters for development that wouldn’t follow land use code. In response, council members decided to consider making some changes this Spring to Aspen’s land use code.

Your Evening News - January 26th, 2015

Jan 26, 2015

Sick Mountain Lion Put Down in Carbondale

The Carbondale Police Department says it put down a sick mountain lion this past weekend. The department says it received a call that the big cat was lying under the bridge on North Bridge Drive on Saturday afternoon. The Tom Cat was about a year or two old and could only move its head. After contacting the Division of Wildlife, the cat was put down. The mountain lion was not believed to be suffering from a communicable illness. It was mangy, malnourished and had sores over its body. The Carbondale Police say the cat could have been hit by car. The department reminds motorists that if they hit an animal in an accident, they should notify their local police.

Your Morning News - January 26th, 2015

Jan 26, 2015

2015 Winter X Games in the Record Books

The 19th annual Winter X Games in Aspen wrapped up yesterday. Event owner and organizer ESPN reports this last weekend saw the largest single day crowd in the history of the winter games. That was on Saturday when 48,500 spectators packed the base of Buttermilk Mountain over the course of the day.

As for hometown athletes, Aspenite Alex Ferreira medaled, Sunday. The 20 year old freeskier won bronze in the Men’s Ski SuperPipe. Longtime snowboarder and Olympic bronze medalist Chris Klug took home gold this weekend with his Special Olympics teammate.

This winter was the first time the X Games featured a dual giant slalom snowboard race.

Your Evening News - January 23rd, 2015

Jan 23, 2015

Hunt Answers Aspen Questions at Sold Out Event

Downtown developer Mark Hunt made his first public appearance last night, aside from city public hearings, in front of an audience of nearly one-hundred concerned residents. They peppered him with questions, curious about the man that controls 15 buildings in the commercial core. Members of the business community, long time local residents, and newcomers sipped wine at BB’s Kitchen in downtown Aspen. They asked about Hunt's intentions for his real estate portfolio. In a mostly jovial environment, attendees also asked about how Hunt’s plans could change the character of this historic town.

A recent transplant from Chicago, Hunt said he is not in Aspen to ruin the town, but to enhance it. He proposes to do that through new development at some properties and what he characterized as “spit shining” other ones. Hunt explained some aspects behind his affordable lodge project on Cooper Avenue across from city market. He believes that providing public amenities like an underground bowling alley is better than parking spaces. And that’s why he’s asking for exceptions from the City of Aspen land use code.

Aspen Public Radio learned yesterday that Hunt wants to separate out a second affordable lodge. The two had been proposed simultaneously.

“Well, listen, first of all I’m not pulling it. I’m putting it on ice so to speak. You know, listen, I got excited. I’m out there trying to be part of the solution of providing additional beds and affordability, designing something for the next gen and you know, quite frankly I think that putting both out there was too much.”

Hunt is scheduled to go before City Council on Monday to ask for that extension. Council is expected to also review the Cooper Avenue lodge proposal.

Your Morning News - January 23rd, 2015

Jan 23, 2015

Pitkin County Cites a Drone Pilot

Law enforcement in Pitkin County responded to their first ever-incident yesterday of drones being flown in an area where they’re not allowed.

Two people were flying a drone near the Winter X Games venue around 3:30 in the afternoon. The drone was within the general flight path of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, which is illegal. The operator of the drone was charged with reckless endangerment and the drone was confiscated.

Meanwhile, ESPN was granted special permission by the FAA to fly drones for the X Games in a specified area, away from spectators.

Your Evening News - January 22nd, 2015

Jan 22, 2015

Mark Hunt to put “Base 2” Plans “On Ice”

Developer Mark Hunt is asking Aspen City Council to extend the review of his affordable lodge proposal on Main Street until at least March 9. Hunt will go before council on Monday, when elected officials were set to review his two lodge applications. But in somewhat of a surprise move, Hunt has separated out what’s known as Base 2. What will be left is Base 1, another affordable lodge proposal on Cooper Avenue. Hunt says his decision to delay Base 2 is to see if Base 1 can stand on its own merits and is ultimately what the community wants.

“Well, listen, first of all I’m not pulling it. I’m putting it on ice so to speak. You know, listen, I got excited. I’m out there trying to be part of the solution of providing additional beds and affordability, designing something for the next gen and you know, quite frankly I think that putting both out there was too much.”

Hunt will hold a question-and-answer session with community members at BB’s Kitchen tonight. The event is hosted by Aspen Business Events, an offshoot of the Aspen Business Luncheon. The 5 p.m. gathering sold out the day it was announced earlier this week and was expanded to include close to 70 people.

Your Morning News - January 22nd, 2015

Jan 22, 2015

Garfield County Air Study at Midpoint

An ongoing study measuring air emissions from natural gas operations in Garfield County is about half complete.

Doctor Jeff Collett of Colorado State University delivered an update to the Garfield County Commissioners Tuesday. The County and “industry partners” are funding the $1.8 million study. Field work started in 2013. Researchers are working with companies like WPX and Encana to measure emissions from drilling, fracking and flow-back operations.

So far, Collett says the study has produced 16 successful experiments that are being analyzed. There have been challenges.

“The amount of new wells going in has decreased with the decrease in the price of natural gas. And some constraints in terms of site suitability. A lot of the development of new wells now happens at topographically complex sites. So these have slowed measurements a bit over what we would have opened.”

Collett hopes to produce a total of 24 successful experiments by the end of 2015, when the study is slated to be complete.

Your Evening News - January 21st, 2015

Jan 21, 2015

Aspen Reviewing Powerhouse Plans

The five finalists to fill a city owned building in Aspen will find out in March whether they’ve been chosen. The City is in its final stretch of its process to find a tenant for the Old Power House.

The finalists for the space include a brewery, a science center, a media “powerhouse,” a performance and event center and a proposal called “The Gathering Place.”

Right now, the groups are answering a series of questions such as how they would use the building, whether it’ll create center of community and if there’s a market for the services offered. Assistant City Manager Barry Crook says City Council prioritized the criteria.

“How would you produce a memory making experience that would have a visitor relating their visit to others in an enthusiastic way? Why is this location necessary to your plan? How would you activate the grounds, integrate it with the existing trail system and the river?”

The previous tenant, the Aspen Art Museum, paid just a dollar a year in rent. City Council hasn’t decided whether a new tenant will be charged the same price. Council is scheduled to choose a new tenant by the end of March.

Your Morning News - January 21st, 2015

Jan 21, 2015

X Games Briefs Aspen on Plans

The ESPN Winter X Games will be up and running tonight. Organizers briefed Pitkin County officials yesterday on the final details.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority expects upwards of 38,000 rides starting this evening through Sunday. Where those people are dropped off and picked up at Buttermilk is one of the changes in place this year. Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock.

“For past attendees of the X Games, the layout will be a little different, with construction and new bus circulation on the venue, how people will come to and leave the venue will look a little bit different, but I think it’ll be even more efficient than in years past.”

Events begin at 7pm this evening. Another change this year is concerts will be on site instead of in Aspen.

Your Evening News - January 20th, 2015

Jan 20, 2015

Mark Hunt to Take Aspen’s Questions at Public Forum

The man who controls the majority of buildings in downtown Aspen will speak publicly for the first time to the community on his future plans. Aspen Business Events is hosting a question-and-answer session with Mark Hunt. Along with investors, Hunt has amassed 15 buildings in the commercial core and has invested more than $100 million in real estate in the city. The event will take place on Thursday at 5pm at BB’s Kitchen. Two Hunt proposals for low-cost hotels go before the Aspen City Council on Monday.

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