The failure of the city council to honor Aspen’s history by retaining the symbolic seat of city government in the old armory is shameful and another nail in the coffin of Aspen’s historic legacy. When Pitkin County built its new administration building and moved the county offices entirely out of the historic courthouse, it was a loss of historical context for the community. The interior of the new county building is sterile and completely unrelated to Aspen, it could easily be “Anywhere, USA.”
I wish to express my disappointment in council’s vote to place the official seat of city government in the new city office building. City hall has resided in the “armory” building before the 1950s and well back into the 1940s, possibly even the 1930s, when city government was comprised of only four employees and other community uses also existed in the building. There was still a city presence there in those years when the town marshal and mayor’s offices co-existed with the fire engine and the town basketball court. My how times have changed with the exponential growth of city staff in recent years.
Access, parking and information, with ACRA offices at Rio Grande, is far more suitable than asking visitors to park in one location and secure information in another; completing a two-step process when most are uncertain of even the direction to head to find the center of town.
Torre and Steve Skadron should both be commended for honoring and valuing Aspen’s historic past and taking a stand to insure that we are a town of community values and of historic integrity. Every year more of our historic fabric is compromised with the renovations of the Wheeler Opera House, St. Mary’s Church and now the Pitkin County Courthouse. Every year, Aspen becomes a town that fewer and fewer of Aspen’s native sons and daughters can even recognize.