Aspen Public Radio

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.

Your Morning News - January 20th, 2015

Jan 20, 2015

Aspen Mayor to Talk Climate Change at National Conference

Aspen mayor Steve Skadron is heading to Washington at the end of the week to talk to other U.S. mayors about preparing for a changed climate.

Climate resiliency planning is one of Aspen City Council’s top ten goals. The City commissioned a study to examine what kinds of changes are in store for the resort town. The temperature is expected to increase and the number of frost-free days will rise.

Aspen has also worked to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through the Canary Initiative. Mayor Steve Skadron says he plans to share Aspen’s progress.

“The work we’ve done to this point will be recognized as some of the most aggressive out there. That’s the message I want to put forth to my fellow mayors, that if a community like ours can address this, there’s opportunities for other communities, as well.”

The two-day meeting is called the Mayor’s Innovation Project and “integrating climate resilience into city decisions” is one of four main topics the mayors will discuss.

Your Evening News - January 19th, 2015

Jan 19, 2015

Aspen to Talk Child Care

The City of Aspen is gathering community leaders together to discuss early child care and its importance tomorrow. Organizers say affordable childcare supports the resort town’s economy.

Shirley Ritter with the City’s Kids First program says a quarter of the families who either work or live in Aspen are receiving some kind of child care assistance. Her office distributes financial aid to about 50 families. Other programs, through the school district and county, support more kids. She says the benefits keep workers in town.

“In this community we know that housing is really expensive, everybody’s well aware of that. But unless you have young children, you probably aren’t aware of how expensive child care is. It can be just as expensive as housing. Sometimes people pay more than what they pay in rent.”

Tuesday’s discussion includes a screening of the PBS documentary “The Raising of America.” And, officials from Aspen’s business community will talk about how they support their employees. The event is at noon at the Wheeler Opera House.

Your Morning News - January 19th, 2015

Jan 19, 2015

First Aspen Council & Mayoral Candidates Announce

The first candidate for an open Aspen City Council seat has emerged.

Former Affordable Housing chief Tom McCabe has confirmed he plans to run for city council in May. McCabe retired as Director of the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority last October. McCabe says he would bring his expertise on how the city operates and likely focus on housing issues. He served one term on Aspen City Council in the early 2000s.

It is also likely Aspen's Mayoral race will have a challenger in the ballot. Former city councilman Torre told Aspen Public Radio this weekend that his intention is to run in the May election. He plans to formally announce his candidacy next month. It would be Torre's fifth attempt at the Mayor’s office.

Your Evening News - January 16th, 2015

Jan 16, 2015

Explore Booksellers Bought by Non-Profit Group

Aspen’s Explore Booksellers has a new owner. A corporation under the umbrella of the Public Interest Network purchased the historic building and book business for five million dollars. The sale closed earlier today.

The bookstore opened as usual on Friday, but with new owners. Previous owners Sam and Cheryl Wyly listed the property in June. Since then, efforts have formed around preserving the business – Aspen’s only bookstore.

The Public Interest Network stepped in and the sale was finalized Friday. Real estate broker Bob Ritchie represented the buyers.

“Right now they plan to operate it exactly how it’s been operated. They’ve rehired all of the same employees.”

Karen Setterfield is the real estate agent who worked with the sellers.

“I call it a win-win-win. It’s good for the buyer, the seller, it’s good for the community, it’s good for the bookstore and the property and it’s good for Pyramid Bistro, the tenant in the property.”

Ritchie says the new owners plan to bring to Explore interesting speakers and talks, and deepen ties with the Aspen Institute.

Your Morning News - January 16th, 2015

Jan 16, 2015

Glenwood Springs Reviews Expanded Meadows Development Plan

Last night Glenwood Springs Council took an early look at a proposed development at the Glenwood Meadows Shopping Center. It would add nearly two hundred housing units and commercial space to the bustling shopping complex.

Because the project is in the early phases, no action was required of council members last night. Mayor Leo McKinney said afterward the proposal was generally well received.

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