Save Patty’s gardens |

Save Patty’s gardens

Dear Editor:It will be four years ago March 12 that the community of Aspen lost one of its dearest members, my mother, Patty Hodgson. While time has made it a bit easier, the pain of the void she left will never go away. Patty was an avid member of the community and a very dedicated faculty member of the Aspen School District. She was dedicated to each and every student throughout her nearly 20 years as the high school and district librarian.During the summers, when school was out, my mother’s other passion was gardening. When she and my father moved to Aspen 35 years ago, they purchased a house at 212 N. Monarch St. She made the open space between the two Victorian homes on the block beautiful by surrounding it with gardens. Even after her death, her gardens continue to bloom as a constant reminder of her. Now those gardens and park-like open space are threatened. A developer hopes to open an alley which will cut through the block, destroying a beautiful open space of trees and gardens. This alley has never been opened, but he wishes to build a 105-foot driveway to access new commercial and residential buildings he has plans to develop.Opening this alley is wrong for so many reasons. There is the safety issue. Increased traffic would be a danger to the many pedestrians, especially the toddlers who attend the Early Learning Center just up the street as well as the walking tours in the summer.Opening an alley will destroy the historic character of the block, and completely contradicts many of the Aspen Area Community Plan’s goals and historic preservation philosophies, such as “promoting a standard of design that is of the highest quality and is compatible with the historic features of the community and environment.” Some of the many environmental impacts include the loss of a century-old fir tree, the loss of many lilac bushes, birch trees, plants and, of course, the gardens. The noise and pollution levels will increase as well. And finally, it is threatening Patty’s gardens, one of the few and precious things that we have to remember her by. While we’ve been working hard to prevent the opening of the alley, the results of the last City Council meeting on Feb. 27 were not good for us. Whether you are one of the many who knew Patty or are simply against the development, please write the City Council or come to the next meeting to oppose the plans to destroy yet another historic block of the West End. The next meeting will be Monday, March 13, precisely four years after the death of Patty. Please help save Patty’s gardens!Drew HodgsonAspen

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