There are now more than 1,600 billionaires in the world, and at least fifty of them have stakes in the Aspen area — primarily through their ownership of real estate in Pitkin County.
Their collective net worth totals more than $335 billion; the value of their real estate in the Aspen area is at least $750 million.
…most of these billionaires do have an impact on Aspen, through their investments in luxury estates…the second-home industry and escalating property values have replaced once vibrant Aspen neighborhoods with blocks of large, lifeless houses; marred once-pristine landscapes; exacerbated traffic congestion, and pollution; and driven many locals down or out of the valley.
BILL KOCH is building a 420-acre town on what had been a large meadow in the basin of the spectacular Ragged Mountains.
The town is permitted to have 50 buildings, 120,000 gallons of underground water storage, and – it is said – an operating railroad train.
This private western village has been permitted by Gunnison County and by the State of Colorado and it is perfectly OK.
WHAT IS NOT OK IS Mr. Koch’s attempt to get the United States Congress to trade to him three square miles of our public land to ensure that we, the public, will never be able to see his private Western village.
Mr. Koch’s proposed land exchange (LEX) would not just take three square miles of high-elevation riparian and open land, but it would also close the best existing public access into 40 square miles of the Ragged Mountain Basin. It would also give Mr. Koch total control of a fine elk herd.