Don’t mar the jewel |

Don’t mar the jewel

Dear Editor:

Sitting on the bench closest to the river at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel, spirit of the mountains. Water levels on the Roaring Fork River drowning out any of the noise from  traffic on Highway 82, which most times is non-existent from that distance in the park.

Two hummingbirds, in hot pursuit of each other were gone before I could catch a glimpse. I turned just in time to see a hawk soaring in the currents high above me, looking at the park below him. The crack of the bat as a youngster at the ball diamond hits a ground ball, his teammates cheer him on safely to first base. The soccer players running back and forth on the green grass of the park. Laughing children at the playground, mom and dad pushing the swings. A steady stream of people passing by the bench using all sustainable means of transportation, enjoying the summer night.

As the sun embraced Basalt Mountain for its final photo of the day, a pack of coyotes sang out over my shoulder on The Crown, for which the park gets its name. It could have been a gathering of the pack, or quite possibly a celebration of a fresh meal. Too far away to tell.

All of these events happened in less than five minutes on the edge of the park.

I received one of the surveys that was mentioned in the article from Thursday’s Aspen Times regarding the support for a potential new recreation center at Crown Mountain Park. Put me in the 29 percent of people opposed.

This rec center is a great idea, but let’s find another location. We could take a fraction of the costs, all of which unknown right now, and simply make a sustainable park with more trees to provide shade. Under these trees could be more benches, possibly a picnic table. What about a massive community garden that could be maintained year-round by students from local schools? Paths leading down to the river from the park that someone bound to a chair could enjoy. Future generations would look at the park and say, “Wow, they did it right.”

Is it necessary to spend millions of dollars on infrastructure, concrete, utilities, pavement, a cute little river bed made out of stone where you park your car so you can go indoors and have a swim, or lift a weight? Get off of your couch, turn off the TV or computer, put some air in your bike tires, or slip on your hikers and take a lap around Crown Mountain Park. Stop at the bench and take a break; you won’t be disappointed.

Let’s make improvements on what we have, and keep this hidden gem, Crown Mountain Park, the jewel of the Roaring Fork Valley.

Jeff Heidemann

Basalt (unincorporated Eagle County)

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