The Red Brick debate | AspenTimes.com
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The Red Brick debate

Dear Editor:The article on Les Holst in the Sunday (May 7) Aspen Times Weekly is interesting, but the part about Aspen Elementary School is wrong and misleading.The West End residents as a group strongly supported keeping the children and the school as it had been for years. It was real estate developer-investor Jon Siegle that pushed to have the school moved out of town. He was a recent arrival from New York, had no kids in school then and did not live near the school. Another opponent was Dorothea Farris, again with no school kids and not an Aspen resident.The most prominent West End owner, Mrs. Paepcke, attended a school board meeting with us and spoke against moving the school. Even Siegle, usually arrogant and self-important, was deferential to her that night. Mayor Bill Stirling, a West Ender also, spoke on the side of keeping the schools. The owner of the Victorian across the street, formerly the residence of a Colorado governor, and the lady near him donated funds with me for architectural plans for a larger revised school in town, which Siegle ignored.Caroline and Scott McDonald, living two blocks away and with two school kids, worked to keep the schools, as did Krys and I living a block away with two young boys. We presented the school board with a petition of almost 1,000 names to keep the school, which virtually all the West End residents that I asked signed. The only one I can remember opposing was Mary Hayes.The PR man for Siegle was Frank Betts. I believe he had been in development, but was never a teacher or a principal before becoming school superintendent.Our group was able to prevent Siegle from condemning the land held by the Moore family, longtime Aspenites and benefactors. I filed a complaint against Siegle and the school board for violating state election laws and they were found guilty by the Secretary of State, as well as the State Court. That’s fact, not opinion, look it up,The article is wrong on both points, that neighbors wanted the school destroyed and that this would enhance their property values. I believe having a neighborhood school added value. The Red Brick is still used for some classes, the Yellow Brick is a preschool and prices in that area have continued to climb. As for me, I had no intention of ever selling our home; what I was concerned with was what was the best school for our sons as well as the preservation of Aspen. What will hurt property values are the ugly, cheap, modern homes being built in historic residential areas. Look at the apartments on West Hopkins, where the railroad car was. These things would be ugly even if they were a warehouse in New York.Aspen needs more people with a sense of taste like Les Holst.Bill GreenwoodAspen


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