Trolleys better off in a loving home
November 25, 2002
In the four years I’ve been here, I’ve resisted ever writing to the newspaper about any issue, but now I’ve found that I can resist no longer.
One of the first jobs I was given after arriving in Aspen four years ago was to do something with the abandoned trolleys. I took to the City Council numerous proposals, including various uses in town and including giving them to other towns that would use them. Three times I’ve made arrangements to give them away, only to have it stopped by citizen pleadings to City Council.
Over the last four years, the trolley group has been given the opportunity to select the towns that would receive them (they didn’t act on this), they were given the trolleys with the only stipulation being that they remove them from city property (they failed also to do this), and they were given the opportunity to take it to a vote of the people (this issue failed at the last election).
How many opportunities do they want? Is this another Aspen issue that will never die?
At the council’s direction, I have done my best to find all six trolleys a loving home where they will be put into service as trolleys. No doubt, anyone can argue that I could have found them a better home or found someone more deserving, but the trolley group had the opportunity to select the recipients and failed.
My selection of beneficiaries was based upon numerous criteria. The beneficiaries had to have an operating system (not a dream of one yet to come) and had to promise that they would restore the trolleys. This is an integral part of the agreements they are signing with the City of Aspen.
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Each of these three towns has waited patiently while Aspen decided the fate of the trolleys. These folks all asked for the trolleys long ago. They are all patient and deserving.
They are all small operations. They aren’t big cities with a lot of money. They all do most of the work with volunteers who put their own labor of love and money into their trolley systems. A better home somewhere? Maybe, but I doubt that.
Some continue to claim that Wanganui, New Zealand, will strip the cars they receive for parts for other trolleys based on a conversation they presumably had with some yet-unknown person a year and a half ago.
The conversations that I have had with Wanganui for the last three years has always been that they would restore any cars they received. The letter of agreement they signed confirms this.
Continue to let the trolleys rot or find them a loving home? The answer seems simple enough.