Letter: A win-win for Basalt
October 19, 2016
The town of Basalt envisions itself as the "confluence of rivers, recreation and culture." In the upcoming November election, we have two ballot questions, 2F and 2G, that if passed will provide a great opportunity for that vision to move forward.
Question 2F authorizes the town to purchase 2.3 acres of riverfront property for $2.9 million — with the recent news that the $2.9 million price tag will be offset by $800,000 through pledges from Eagle County and Pitkin County open space programs. And, while this land purchase would serve as the linchpin for the future Basalt Community River Park, the western 1 acre of the property would still be available for development for either commercial or community purposes.
Question 2G is a bond issue that will provide the town with up to $4 million to develop a community park extending from Two Rivers Road to the Roaring Fork River. Not only will the passing of this bond finance the park, it would also put the town in the position of "refinancing" its overall debt at a historically low rate of approximately 2 percent — the lowest borrowing rate available in the last 65 years!
Since the summer of 2015, P.O.S.T. (a town of Basalt citizen advisory committee), DHM (a Carbondale based architectural firm) and Basalt town staff have been diligently working on a design plan for a Basalt Community River Park on the property site. Their river park design plan:
• Incorporates the vision of the 2014 Downtown Area Advisory Committee, a Town Council-appointed citizen committee, to have a park that serves as a connection between the downtown core and the Roaring Fork River.
• Creates a community river park that supports the visual, physical and emotional impacts the river has on the downtown citizens and its visitors.
• Creates a place that prioritizes people.
• Provides the critical mass that allows planned and impromptu activities to coexist without adversely impacting each other.
• Showcases the unparalleled valley opportunity where people in the park are simultaneously within walking distance of the downtown core and the river.
• Serves as an economic stimulus for the downtown core of Basalt — not just in terms of daily vitality but future increased property values as well.
Once created the community river park will become the distinguishing characteristic of downtown Basalt and grow into the hub of activity for not only Basalt citizens but for residents and visitors of the entire Roaring Fork Valley. The connection of the downtown core to the river is the key. To quote James DeFrancia of Lowe Enterprises, "Water is always an attraction — anywhere" (DAAC meeting, November 2014)
Please vote "yes' in November for ballot questions 2F and 2G so that a Basalt Community River Park can come to fruition. Upon completion, the new river park can begin to express Basalt's vision as "the confluence of rivers, recreation and culture."