Freedman recants recall remarks |

Freedman recants recall remarks

Scott Condon
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Two weeks after suggesting that the elected board of directors of the Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District should be recalled, Basalt Councilwoman Anne Freedman apologized Tuesday night.

Freedman said during Tuesday’s Town Council meeting that her earlier comments were “probably uncalled for.” However, she also said the issues that led to her frustration still existed.

“I do believe there are problems to be ironed out,” Freedman said.

In the Jan. 13 council meeting, Freedman vented her frustration with the Crown Mountain board for what she perceived as delays in taking the lead in midvalley recreation issues.

She accused the Crown Mountain board of taking too long to start building ball fields, basketball and tennis courts and other facilities at the old Mount Sopris Tree Farm.

The Crown Mountain district was approved by voters in November 2002, along with $5.1 million in funding. The ballot wording gives the board the responsibility of developing recreation facilities in the tree farm as well as at other locations in the district. Basalt and Crown Mountain officials have also discussed the possibility of the district operating programs currently run by the town government’s recreation department.

Freedman said on Jan. 13 that Crown Mountain wasn’t making progress fast enough on running those programs ” and it was costing the town’s taxpayers. In addition, she reacted critically after hearing the Crown Mountain board wouldn’t contribute funds to maintain a running track at the Basalt High School. A citizens’ group is trying to build that track because the Roaring Fork School District won’t fund it, or other athletic facilities at the Basalt High School, in full.

“Thoughts of recall go through my mind,” said Freedman at the Jan. 13 meeting. “They really are being irresponsible.”

After issuing the apology Tuesday for her comments, she said she still feels strongly about the issues, but regretted suggesting the recall. “We still have to work with them,” she said.

She noted that 55 percent of the kids participating in the Basalt recreation programs live outside the town limits. It is appropriate for the Crown Mountain district to run the programs, she said.

Bob Schultz, a midvalley civic activist, has challenged the assumption that Crown Mountain can legally operate the programs. He said the district’s service plan doesn’t give it those powers. Freedman said her interpretation of the service plan allows the district to run recreation programs.

The Basalt Town Council and Crown Mountain board were trying to schedule a joint meeting at the time of Freedman’s recall comment. No date has been set but the meeting will likely occur in February.

Mark Fuller, co-director of the Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District, said Wednesday he would have preferred that the district hear Freedman’s apology directly from her rather than a newspaper reporter. Nevertheless, he said, he appreciated it.

He said the Crown Mountain board looks forward to meeting with the Town Council despite the recall comment by Freedman.

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