DEAR EDITOR:

My name is Olivia Hatcher, and I am co-president of the youth CTC club/coalition at Telluride High School. Since the founding of the CTC coalition, there has been talk of a safe space for the youth of Telluride to go and “hang out.” This idea fluctuated from a recreation center to monthly get-togethers at the TSSC club and finally to the idea of a Youth Center.

As of right now, there is no designated, safe place for kids and teens to go to in Telluride. Especially during off-season, youth walk around town aimlessly trying to find something to do. This aimlessness can lead to the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Surveys of the student body every two years show that the use of drugs and alcohol in Telluride is much higher than those in other cities. A youth center would be a drug- and alcohol-free space, where kids and teens can socialize safely and where a more cohesive community can be promoted. This will lead to an overall improvement in the mental and physical wellbeing of the student population in Telluride.

I realize this is a matter of funding and implore the Town Council of Telluride to consider the youth of Telluride when adopting the 2021 capital budget. The youth center is part of the latest Telluride Parks and Rec Master Plan and funds already allocated should be kept intact.

I believe that building a youth center should be a priority for the Telluride community. Any amount of funding for this youth center would have a huge, positive impact on the students of Telluride. Please consider our youth’s needs and desires when you make the decision to fund or defund a youth center, as this will greatly impact the lives of current and future youth in Telluride.

Sincerely,

Olivia Hatcher

Junior, THS