Letter: Be the change in Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Be the change in Basalt

Regarding Alison Margo’s Aspen Princess column “Why Can’t Basalt Be Cool?” (Commentary, The Aspen Times, April 23), I agree that a downtown Basalt brewery, a world-class performance space and affordable housing all sound lovely.

However, instead of the author using her valuable Aspen Times platform to talk about how Basalt isn’t cool, I think it would have been more responsible for her to write about ways Basaltines can get involved to effect change in their town.

I am a firm believer in the adage “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

I wonder if last year Margo contributed to the “Our Town” community feedback opportunities or if she’s gone to any recent Town Council meetings at which riverbank development has been discussed. Perhaps she should consider running for Basalt Town Council so she can be integral to key decision-making processes. Jacque Whitsitt has regular “Coffee With the Mayor” meetings at Saxy’s. I’m sure the mayor would be happy to listen to Margo’s ideas and offer ways Margo’s Aspen Times readers and friends could roll up their sleeves and get involved.

On that note, for every friend Margo has who “will do whatever it takes to get their kids into Aspen schools,” I can name dozens of families who have chosen to send their kids to school in the community in which they live. My children have thrived in Basalt schools since 2005, and I only see the climate continuing to improve, with re-energized parental involvement, better communication from school administrators and a strategic plan from the Roaring Fork School District.

It sounds like Margo’s community priority is to make Basalt a fun place where locals want to hang out, which is great. My priority has long been working to improve education and school communication in Basalt. The elementary school didn’t have a clear way to share parent volunteer options, so I joined the then-new board of Partners in Education as secretary in 2008. The middle school didn’t have a Lego robotics team, so my sister-in-law and I started one in 2012. Earlier this year, the high school didn’t have a Facebook page, so I launched one and continue to run it.

And I’m only one mom.

Hundreds of local of parents volunteer in Basalt Elementary School classrooms, serve as reading buddies at Basalt Middle School and raise thousands of dollars annually for high school sports teams through the Basalt High School Booster Club.

I found my “tribe” via other school parents and by joining the board of the Basalt Education Foundation (www.basaltedu.org). Together, we have absolutely made a difference, recently raising more than $100,000 for the Basalt schools at the annual Taste of Basalt.

I believe that if Margo finds her tribe — like-minded residents, business owners and other stakeholders — she, too, can bring about the improvements she wants to see in Basalt.

I hope that in a future Aspen Princess column I will read about what Margo has done to help make Basalt a better place to live and play.

Kara Williams

Missouri Heights


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