city of aspen

Carolyn Sackariason

Construction in and around Mill Street may have let up a bit but there is still plenty of work that will continue in the coming weeks. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason talked with Jack Wheeler, the city’s capital asset manager, and has the details.

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

Glenwood Springs has two new council members.

It looks like the Thompson Divide will be safe from oil and gas drilling. But, what about other areas and how do residents there feel about that sort of activity in their backyards?

There’s movement and millions of dollars in play in getting a base village built at the base of Snowmass ski area.

Meanwhile, a new executive director has been hired at the Wheeler Opera House.

And, an Aspen City Council candidate is being scrutinized for something he did 10 years ago.

Joining me this week are Curtis Wackerle, editor of the Aspen Daily News, Jill Bethard, editor of the Snowmass Sun, Randy Essex, editor of the Glenwood Post Independent and Michael Miracle, editor of Aspen Sojourner magazine.

Pothole problems pronounced in Colorado high country

Apr 1, 2015
Marci Krivonen

It’s that time of year...when the weather’s freeze-thaw pattern causes deep caverns to form on city streets and state highways. Potholes are ubiquitous almost everywhere but in the high country, the weather’s more extreme so the roads are ripe for ripping open. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

It’s the morning rush hour on West Main Street in Aspen. Buses, cars and construction vehicles stream into town.

Reporter: "So this is the problem area?"

Drivers Beware - Aspen Construction Detour Coming

Mar 31, 2015

Tomorrow starts ten days of construction that will impact Aspen drivers. Between April 1st and 10th, North Mill Street between Bleeker and Main will be closed to through traffic as several construction projects take place. Detours will be posted for drivers and parking restrictions will affect Bleeker, Aspen, and Spring Streets as well as Rio Grande Place and North Mill Street. Also tomorrow, the Colorado Department of Transportation plans to replace traffic signals at Main and Mill. Expect lane closures for that work during the day on Wednesday.

aspenpowerplant.com

Negotiations begin this week over the lease for Aspen’s Old Power House. The Aspen Brewing Company and local TV station Aspen 82 won a competitive bid to move into the space, located off Mill Street. The proposal also has incubator space for new businesses. The City of Aspen owns the building, and because the new tenants include private companies, they are likely to pay more than the previous rent of $1 a year.

Marci Krivonen

This election voters in Aspen will choose from a full list of candidates. A history of several candidates running for local office isn’t uncommon in Aspen. In fact, it’s the norm. This year, two people are running for a two-year mayor’s term. Seven are running for two open council seats. Council terms are four years. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Bill Stirling was mayor of Aspen for eight years from the mid 1980’s to the early 90’s. In one race, he decided to meet the public outdoors.

aspenpitkin.com

Staffers at the city-owned Aspen Recreation Center are updating their business plan in an effort to save taxpayers money. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, the facility is heavily subsidized.

Taxpayers pitch in to pay for community recreation centers around the country. Tim Anderson is Director for the Aspen Recreation Center that has a $4 million annual budget. He says the facility raises more than half of that. The rest is subsidized by city government.

Tracy Olson/Flickr

This afternoon Aspen City Council will review an audit of city finances, and take comments on who should take over the Old Power House building. The audit comes after a widespread parking scam. The review shows the parking scam cost the City more than $200,000-- much less than previously thought, because the audit assumes people who took advantage of free parking would have found a way to avoid parking in the first place, rather than paying the usual twenty eight dollars a day. 

aspenpitkin.com

A large pool of candidates is vying for three open seats on Aspen City Council. Monday at 5pm was the deadline for candidates to submit paperwork for the May election. A total of nine people are running.

Current mayor Steve Skadron and former councilman Torre are running for the mayor’s seat. Seven candidates are running for the other open council seat. They are Marcia Goshorn, Tom McCabe, Keith Goode, Andy Israel, Bert Myrin, Mick Ireland and Adam Frisch. City Clerk Linda Manning announced the list of candidates at Monday's city council meeting.

rfta.com

Now that funding is in place to renovate the Rubey Park bus depot in downtown Aspen, a public outreach effort is starting. The City will warn people about construction.

The $9.3 million renovation project will modernize Rubey Park and fix things like cracking concrete and cramped bus parking. The construction project will renovate the interior of the existing clock tower building and add two buildings to either side of it. Parking for buses will change too.

A parking scam in Aspen was not as costly as expected. That’s according to a new audit of City finances.  A Denver-based auditor calculated less than $200,000 in city revenue were lost when people abused a parking meter glitch from 2012 to 2014. Previous estimates were upwards of a half million dollars. Overall the auditor says Aspen has good rules in place to make sure revenue is handled safely, with some exceptions.

 

Town of Basalt

An elected board that makes decisions on local transit considered a series of funding requests Thursday. The Elected Officials Transportation Committee approved 3 of 4 requests for projects from Glenwood Springs to Aspen.

The board is in charge of a fund that collects money from Pitkin County half-cent sales and use taxes. Much of the money funds the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. Those behind last night’s proposals were hoping to get some of the remaining dollars.

  The push continues to create economic development in Aspen centered around hiking uphill on ski or snowboard gear, also known as uphilling. Mayor Steve Skadron has spearheaded the effort and met last weekend with ski manufacturers, members of the Italian consulate, race organizers, local gear and guide services, and others. It was part of the Aspen Uphill festival on Saturday.

City of Aspen considering micro hydro to generate power

Feb 26, 2015
aspenpitkin.com

Aspen City Council Monday again tackled the issue of using hydroelectricity to generate power in town. The elected officials voted to allow a permit to expire for the controversial Castle Creek Energy Center. But, micro-hydro projects will be explored. 

The City is considering micro-hydro on Maroon and Castle Creeks for three reasons: to generate power using renewable sources, maintain healthy stream flows and preserve City water rights.

Elise Thatcher

Memorial benches have been a long tradition in Aspen. But about a dozen that have been living in Galena Plaza now need a new home. The benches honor members of the community, whether they’re long time locals, part timers, or have otherwise spent time in Aspen. Thirteen benches need new homes because they’ll uprooted for a construction project on Galena Plaza.

Elise Thatcher

Workers in Aspen are cutting down 25 trees on city property today. A subcontractor started removing them, partly to make room for a redevelopment. The spruce trees are planted on top of the city’s parking garage, which is leaking and needs repair, and have to be removed in order for that work to happen. Jason Jones is with Aspen Tree Service, and says there isn’t enough room for the 30-year-old trees to keep growing. 

Aspen Panel Discusses Early Childhood Education

Jan 21, 2015
Creative Commons/Flickr/Nicholas Wang

More families in the Roaring Fork Valley need access to affordable early childhood education. That was the message from a panel discussion in Aspen Tuesday. Aspen’s mayor joined four others from the non profit and business sectors on stage at the Wheeler. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Your Evening News - January 14th, 2015

Jan 14, 2015

Aspen May Have to Build More Government Office Space

The City of Aspen is trying to decide where to put its workers. There’s not enough existing space for them including the police department. Tomorrow, the City is holding the last in a series of open houses on the issue.

Workers are severely cramped, plus Aspen is losing lots of office space due to rental agreements. City employee Jack Wheeler is overseeing how to solve the problem. He says there isn’t enough office space for the City to rent in Aspen. So, building is the only viable option.

“We went through several different iterations, we presented them to Council, Council and the public pointed at two distinct options. Both options that we’re pursuing include police facility at 540 Main.”

That’s city property next to the Pitkin County Plaza Building.

The difference in the plans lies in whether to renovate and expand city hall or effectively create a new city hall near the Pitkin County library by renovating and expanding existing city buildings there.

Either wouldn’t be in place until sometime 2018. So, Wheeler is also juggling an interim plan.

Mountain Edition - January 1st, 2015

Jan 1, 2015

Good afternoon and Happy New Year. Welcome to Mountain Edition.

The City of Aspen is looking ahead to a warmer future and planning around a changed climate.

An Aspen non-profit is introducing children to the science behind our winter landscape.

And as the snow flies, extensive snow removal operations are underway at the Aspen airport.

It’s one of the busiest times of the year at Aspen restaurants. We’ll take you to one that’s working to keep up.

Your Morning News - December 16th, 2014

Dec 16, 2014

Aspen Planners Consider Mark Hunt Proposal on Lodging

Planning officials in Aspen are considering whether to allow certain exceptions for one of the development projects Mark Hunt is involved with. The Chicago businessman has purchased more than a dozen properties in town in recent years.

The project would be built on Main Street, where a Conoco gas station is now. Aspen’s planning and zoning commission is reviewing a laundry list of exceptions that Hunt is asking for. Aspen Senior planner Sara Adams says one is canceling what’s called impact fees.

“So that comes to a total of about $91,400, roughly, in impact fees.”

Hunt is also requesting a height increase, more than doubling the amount of floor space, eliminating the required two to three affordable housing units while leasing more than twenty parking spaces in the Rio Grande Parking Plaza rather than building more parking for guests.

The proposed building would be three stories tall with a gable roof and a rooftop deck. The rooms would be on the smaller side. Hunt has said the effort is to boost the affordable lodging in Aspen. Again, city planner Sara Adams

“First floor is retail, restaurant, lodge lobby. Second and third floor are all lodge rooms. You know a hundred and seventy to a hundred and eighty square feet, average size, bunk beds.”

In the basement there would be amenities like a bar and a Turkish steam bath. The proposal is goes before the Planning and Zoning Commission tonight. Members will decide what recommendations to make to City Council which will consider the proposal. Another Hunt development that’s very similar will be considered in January.

Pages