It has been an honor to represent the citizens of Aspen on the city council for the past three-and-a-half years. I have given my heart and soul to the job.
I have lived in Aspen since 1976. The town has, I think, grown gracefully. The character of our town has changed, as is to be expected. Our country has changed, as have I. I moved here to ski, then I met my future wife in the Bell Mountain singles line. Our two girls were born and raised here. Now we are empty-nesters. One daughter is a school counselor in Switzerland and the other is an environmental engineer in Truckee, California. We have one grandchild.
My process on council is always to be as informed as possible before making a final decision. I always study the packets before meetings, ask the questions I need to inform my decision and listen to different perspectives with an open mind. After full consideration, I sometimes change my mind in the process. I have the courage to make the tough decisions; I always vote for what I think is best for Aspen.
While serving on council we accomplished many things:
We sent the Lift One project to the voters and it was passed by a narrow margin. I was the first voice to insist on the new lift coming down to Dean Street.
The water storage rights up Castle and Maroon creeks were vacated and we are in the process of moving them to the best spot to ensure that Aspen has water for the future.
We purchased land at the Woody Creek gravel pit for possible water storage.
We moved Burlingame III toward completion. We saw the three Aspen Housing Partners projects completed.
We purchased the Aspen Mini Storage site to add to the Lumberyard land for workforce housing.
We are moving through conceptual design toward schematic and final design at the Lumberyard. We accelerated the timeline for the Lumberyard a full year.
Then along came COVID-19 and our attention was correctly focused on public health, safety and the economic survival of Aspen. I was the one on the council to introduce the possibility of needing to declare a local disaster emergency. I engaged the city manager in a public discussion of the benefits of an emergency declaration. I comforted the community by telling them not to panic by declaring a local disaster emergency rather be thankful for the benefits made available to Aspen. Three days later we declared an emergency. We are still in it.
I represent the city council on:
Central Core and Lodging Commission
CORE: Community Office of Resource Efficiency — Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council
Aspen Homeless Coalition
I have often stated that I did not intend to run for a second term because I never wanted to vote based upon getting reelected. My dedication to continuing the work and my love of Aspen have caused me to change my mind about running for a second and final term on Aspen City Council.
There is still a lot of work to do. The two biggest tasks I want to see completed are the Lumberyard project and a return to a new normalcy post-COVID-19.
I will be posting videos on my website (www.wardforaspen.com). I ask for your support and welcome all communications.