Letter: What about education?
While I took a jab at the Aspen City Council last week regarding its decision for a brewery over a science center for the future use of the old Art Museum space, I feel that I must admonish the entire Roar Fork Valley in its priorities regarding vacated public buildings and properties as well as a very real disparity in local spending on facilities for physical activities versus spending on facilities for mental activities.
I mean, good grief! Carbondale must have a “Dance Mafia” in that three of the most recently vacated public properties in town (two schools and the old library) all have dance facilities, with the old library being substantially a dedicated dance facility. (I am not anti-dance, though to be honest I do find it to be more gender specific with more limited use than say a facility that could have housed a nature, science and history museum.)
As far as I can tell within the Roaring Fork Valley, the four counties (Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin and Gunnison) as well as the multiple cities, towns and unincorporated communities that make up this valley have collectively spent more on skate board parks than they have on any facility that resembles a real museum/learning/exploration facility that appeals to people of all ages, but most importantly to our youth. We have wonderful soccer fields, baseball diamonds, rodeo grounds, hiking and biking trails, skate parks, ski mountains, swimming facilities, fishing streams, shooting ranges and yes, dance studios, all of which I heartily support as my daughter dances in those studios, rides horses, loves to swim, lives to ski, shoots at the range and in her spare time hikes and bikes.
My daughter also loves to read; congrats to local communities and their support of libraries. But libraries are not museums. Our children need access to the things that can only be found in a museum environment, such as displays that show the billions of years of geology that makes up their backyard, the physics and chemistry of snow, a diorama of how Native Americans lived, a living cross section of a local stream, a working dial telephone, a small observatory with an astronomy program, an exhibit on Tesla who lived and worked in Colorado, exhibits on energy development — the list is, of course, infinite.
My point is that on a local level, we as one community need to give as much attention to our children’s minds as we do their bodies. Hopefully, people keep this in mind the next time a local public entity vacates a building or property, or perhaps, far-fetched as it may seem, people and communities come together and build something from scratch.
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