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A treehouse explanation

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:(This letter was originally addressed to Molly Gorsuch, Lisa Markalunas and L.M. Sant.)Until I read Molly Gorsuch’s letter to the editor in The Aspen Times, July 26, I was unaware that a beloved old treehouse at 6th and Gillespie had been dismantled by city staff. Due to concerns of a West End resident, the city was asked whether the treehouse was in the city right-of-way. It was, and it was determined to be a hazard. Unfortunately should a child be injured while playing on it, in these times the city could be subject to legal action.If I were a private citizen in the neighborhood, I would react with sadness and anger as well. However, as a city official, my concerns must also be for the health, safety and welfare of our citizens.I believe how something is done often is more important than what is done. City employees are dedicated to carrying out their respected tasks, and to do so in an efficient manner. Sometimes mistakes are made. In this case, a notice on the treehouse for a period of time to allow citizen input, or perhaps elicit citizen effort to make the treehouse safer would have been a kinder, gentler way.There was a miscommunication within the city that caused the immediate removal of this treehouse. This is not offered as an excuse, but as an explanation for what happened. The treehouse is gone, the explanation does not bring it back. However, it was not removed because any city employee is mean-spirited or lacks appreciation of childhood adventure. It was removed because it was perceived to present a hazardous condition on city property.I appreciate the treehouse’s value to the neighborhood’s character, and its source of joy for children. I, too, am sorry it is gone.Helen KlanderudMayor


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