Serving on the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission since 2007, Ann Mullins said she has been happy to learn the ins and out of the city and its land use rules, but the landscape architecture professional said she is ready to move up to the City Council level.
“It’s really exciting to me what the council is considering,” said Mullins, 64, who announced her candidacy on Wednesday. “HPC is one piece of the puzzle. I thought about a year ago I’d rather be dealing with the whole picture.”
Mullins becomes the third candidate to enter the race for two open City Council seats in the May 7 vote, joining Related Colorado President and former Councilman Dwayne Romero and attorney Art Daily. Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland has said he may run for council, as term limits are forcing him out of the mayor’s post. Planning and Zoning Commission member LJ Erspamer said he will run for either council or mayor.
Mullins lived the ski bum life in Aspen for three years in the early 1970s, but left to get a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Utah State University. She moved to Denver in 1984 and co-founded the urban design and landscape architecture firm Civitas, which grew into a nationally known company. The firm had a hand in major Denver projects, such as the Stapleton redevelopment and the South Platte River restoration/Commons Park project. She also worked at the University of Colorado-Boulder as the campus landscape architect.
Moving back to Aspen was always in the back of her mind, she said, and in 2006, she was offered a job up here that made it possible. She also owned an investment property in town that she was renting out, but now resides in full time.
Mullins, who has chaired the HPC for the last three years, said her urban planning and historic preservation chops, as well as her skills as a businesswoman, would be valuable assets on City Council.
Aspen will continue to grow, Mullins said, and the town has to be able to absorb that growth in a thoughtful way. Aspen has changed a great deal since her first stint here in the ’70s, but it was then and is now a great place, she said. The most important thing, she said, is to maintain the town as a place where people can show up — much like she did 40 years ago — and find a place that is intellectually and physically stimulating. Land use decisions need to be made with that vision in mind, she said.
Former Aspen Mayor Bill Stirling and county river board member Ruthie Brown have signed on as Mullins’ campaign co-treasurers.
The final day to submit paperwork to run for office is April 5. Prospective candidates must have lived in Aspen for one year, and are required to turn in a petition with 25 signatures of registered voters in the city who vouch for their candidacy.