People wander about downtown Aspen amid the holiday lights after a storm blanketed the area with fresh snow just in time for the holidays on Friday, Dec. 24, 2021.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
This holiday season the city of Aspen has put a laser focus on lighting up its downtown pedestrian malls, with the goal of celebrating winter, creating excitement and drawing visitors into the spaces.
After hearing from Aspen City Council members this past winter and early spring that they’d like to see different ways to light up the downtown core, the parks department contracted with a local consultant, Alpenglow Lighting, to create a concept that updates the current schemes primarily on the internal large trees within the pedestrian malls, according to Steve Barr, the city’s parks operations manage and Matt Kuhn, the city’s parks and open space director.
The city of Aspen trees are lit up for the holiday season throughout the downtown core on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Visitors walk through rainy downtown Aspen through the decorated holiday lights on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
“It gave us an opportunity to explore some ideas and see what the future holds,” Barr said. “We are happy with what we have done and it adds some accents.”
As visitors to the mall move through the corridor and look inwardly down Hyman and Cooper street, the goal is to create an inviting space by using light to accentuate forms and colors of the mature trees while at the same time conveying a more open feeling that draws the eye up into the canopy.
Pedestrians walk through downtown Aspen with trees decorated with holiday lights on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
The trial approach for this winter focuses on Hyman and Cooper malls and highlights alternative styles that provide illumination to larger trees that traditionally have been wrapped at the bases with lights.
Mayor Torre said the changes were partly sparked by the pandemic “and the desire to do things outdoors for people so they can be entertained,” he said earlier this week. “Going back to a year ago when we were talking about this, it was the idea of utilizing Wagner Park and the pedestrian malls for some sort of outdoor experience and the lighting is part of that.”
Terry Butler, longtime proprietor of The Residence Hotel, a small luxury boutique hotel on Galena Street and a resident on the Hyman Avenue mall, said she’s noticed a subtle change with the lighting.
“I’ve enjoyed the lights, and when it snowed that heavy wet snow a couple of weeks ago the mall was so beautiful,” she said. “I just love our town and I have such a wonderful time at Christmas.”
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