As one of four former owners, I was the only one to vote against selling the property to the Hechts. They had earned a reputation for being sneaky and self-serving lawyers. Originally the property was purchased in 1948 for two bottles of whiskey and back taxes. It sat vacant until 1954 and my father was so happy to lease it to Sinclair filling station. He said it would serve the town well and now we were a family that didn’t have to worry about money because we would have a steady income from Mr. Gilstrap, the owner of the Sinclair who leased the property for 40 years at $350/month. My mother felt the town would be better served by a laundromat. She was outvoted. The point, they cared deeply about what the town needed.
Thirty years later they designated 25 percent of the property to be used as a gathering place for the town. The family then supported the music school to play there in the summer. We chose that instead of having a lot-line to lot-line building. The Hechts do not have the same priority and love for the town. My mother even changed the zoning in Oklahoma Flats to 30,000 square feet instead of 15,000 square feet per lot, even though it hurt us financially.
Unfortunately, the city government has ignored her good intentions and allowed duplexes and the Hechts are choosing to disregard the most treasured space in Aspen. How sad.
Denise Volk Reich