Thursday, July 21, 2016

City Hall, again, letter to the editor

Last Tuesday at City Hall was VEEP worthy.

Bert suggested we turn the Wheeler into City Hall offices - because- I kid you not- it's also historic.

Lest you think this was some sort of Bertian humor there is precedent. Bert's suggestion was building a performing arts center on Galena Plaza in exchange for abandoning the Wheeler to government offices. For those who have not suffered through the bazillion votes on that property- one which we bought through popular vote and threw CAPP's auto out to occupy- the original intent was a performing arts center. That was the RETT vote- upkeep on the Wheeler and support the Arts with a second ballot question authorizing a new performing arts center in addition to and complementing the restored Wheeler. The performing arts center did not pass, the RETT did.

We've waffled on what to do with that parcel since we bought it. No to the performing arts center, no to the art museum, no to city hall, no to everything. Performing Arts moved to the District Theatre, the Black Box, the Tent(s), The art museum supplanted the 'Stube and who knows where City Hall will split it's seams if we don't stuff it into the Galena parcel.

Oh, so many irons in the fire... the Armory Community Center , the RETT,'s a simple war of attrition. Create as many alternatives as possible, force studies on each alternative, delay any decision and the "no" vote wins. (Mayor Skadron raises the same objection as he did with the Power House proposals - the funds are not in place for the Armory Community Center- may I humbly remind the Mayor that to date our non-profits raise money and build faster than the City)

But allow me to reel things back in to the core question. Should City Hall be a "one roof" solution on Galena Plaza? Yes, because interaction between City departments is key. Easier "one stop shopping" for citizen interaction with City Gov. is "huuuuuuge". If I fault this one roof plan at any point it's that it isn't comprehensive enough... all departments should have a presence where any Aspenite can walk in and talk to a person in that department .. all departments are not under the current Galena one roof proposal.

Does City Hall need to be built on Galena Plaza? No,but it needs to be within the City limits and with only that one caveat little orphan Galena Plaza is the most economical and least disruptive option.

The image which keeps floating up in my mind is the joiners table at the 'Stube. A cup of coffee mit schlag and a Belgian waffle makes solving the world's problems much more congenial. We lost the 'Stube because of referendumitus and knee jerk no... fool me once....