Oh, childhood. The long hazy days of summer we spent way, way back in the 70s and 80s when we’d run under the sprinkler (AKA fire hydrant), wait for the ice cream truck to swing by, and play red rover until the sun set. In between those times, we’d eat lunch on the stoop, play hopscotch, jump rope, and draw with sidewalk chalk…blissfully, without a care in the world.
And now, nearly all of those things have gone away like black and white television. Red rover is way too dangerous; ices cream, well, some want ice cream vendors to leave their neighborhoods. And if you live in one Denver town, another favorite childhood pastime might soon be banned: sidewalk chalk.
Stapleton, Denver, wants 3-year-old Emerson Cohen to stop doodling outside her home with chalk. Her mom is outraged and says that Emerson is learning how to spell her name using the chalk, and just generally being creative. Cohen says that she specifically moved in the neighborhood because it was family-friendly and just cannot understand a problem with such an innocent thing as sidewalk chalk:
“We live on a courtyard and we all bought into the notion that we were sharing a space. It’s summertime and God forbid my daughter is drawing flowers, her name and hearts.”
A group known as the Innovations and Courtyard Traditions at Stapleton said “because it is a shared space, anything that offends, disturbs or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment isn’t allowed.” Apparently, neighbors have complained, although Cohen says no one has ever complained to her directly.
An attorney representing the group says, “The association is trying to go down a path of do no harm and prevent the sidewalk art as opposed to… until such time as it can get together and discuss it.”
Of course, since the complex is a shared living space and a not a private house, the opinions of more than one come into play. Still, if sidewalk chalk is the top priority affecting quality of life there, I dare say Cohen would probably benefit from moving away from the kind of people who get bent out of shape over swirly suns and happy faces.
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