Basalt candidates Q&A: the Pan & Fork
Question posted to Basalt Town Council candidates: The town of Basalt is asking voters in April for approval to issue $5 million in bonds to purchase the Pan & Fork Mobile Home Park. The bonds will be repaid through a property tax increase. How will you vote on this question and what are the top issues that need to be considered? Garret Brandt Having residents living in the path of a future disaster should stir us to action and cause the town government to put their safety as a high priority. If a flood were to occur, there is danger beyond just the potential loss of life and property destruction in the mobile home parks. The amount of down-river damage caused by trailers and other improvements and debris caught up on the flood waters is unpredictable but could be extensive. Additionally, part of this property is necessary for flood control and park space as called for in the River Master Plan. Basalt should have significant public river access and parks to enhance our quality of life. However, the current purchase contract does not accomplish these goals. There is no information that the $5,000,000 purchase price is reasonable, no plan to relocate the residents (an estimate from the town is that this will be a 3 -10 year process), and no clear picture of what will become of this important land in the future. I intend to vote against Referendum A.Brian DillardI have thought about this quite a bit since announced. I am in full favor of finding a solution to the issue. However, I do not believe it is in Basalt’s best interest to fund, own and manage said park without a plan. To date NO plan has been announced. Basalt has many issues on the docket, however we also have VERY LIMITED funds, so we purchase the park….then what?? Go back to the well and ask for more tax increases to study solutions? A better solution is that in tandem we be the conduit for assisting a developer relocate residents to another project and at the same time allow variances to rebuild what Basalt needs on the mobil home park site. We cannot just purchase the park and think all is better. If Basalt owns the park, it floods, then what?? There is a solution to relocating residents and rebuilding on part of the site, increasing Basalt’s Old Town vibrancy…BUT it requires more people getting involved from an ownership stand point; if we cannot bring that to the table, we have no business making a purchase with tax payer money. Pete McBrideI will probably vote yes on this issue. I dont like higher taxes. No one does. However, this land in my opinion will most likely only go up in price and the opportunity might never present itself again. The flood threat is too great to ignore, so some action needs to take place and this appears to be the best early framework for a solution. I would prefer the town had more replacement housing available in stock to relocate residents, but considering the quick timeline on this issue, acquiring the land should be a priority. How to expedite the relocation process and push for replacement housing will be a very important issue for the next council. My goal will be to find a solution that doesnt compromise the generation of new affordable housing or the towns remaining open space.Katie SchwoererAcquiring the Pan & Fork will allow us to both create a community riverfront park and provide a solution to relocate the mobile homes out of the floodway. These both are longstanding community goals, but history suggests that the private sector might not be able to reach these goals on its own. The public/private partnerships made possible by the purchase of the Pan & Fork should be up to the task and will enable revitalizing the heart of Old Town Basalt along Two Rivers Road. While the prospect of a tax increase concerns me, I believe that the redevelopment opportunities along Two Rivers Road should enable paying down the bonds and thereby minimizing the long-term burden to taxpayers. Overall, I think buying the Pan & Fork Mobile Home Park will be a positive step forward for the community. Rick StevensThe citizens of Basalt previously approved a $3,000,000.00 bond facility to enable our community to purchase land in the River Corridors. We acquired Old Town Park, the confluence parcel, Briske parcel, and on behalf of the Library the Midland Addition. We leveraged the bond into a GO Colorado Grant for the Old Town Park improvements, it help facilitate the creation of the River Master Plan, the Midland Bridge and the Post Office stayed in Town. We used the facility appropriately and got tremendous benefit from it. We are now asking for the citizens of Basalt to approve another $5,000,000.00 for the same purpose. The existing bond needs to be reimbursed by the library land purchase the developable land on the Old Town Park parcel is available for a replacement housing project. We own a marketable lot on Homestead. We should look at the possibility of accomplishing the same thing on Pan-Fork with less debt.Jacque WhitsittAgain, the Basalt Community survey sites citizen concern about the lack of open space and parks. I agree with the citizens and will definitely vote for this issue. With ownership in the hands of the community, we can have additional river park and open space areas. We can beautify the entrance to Basalt, mitigate the flood issues as outlined by the master plan and have the luxury to plan for replacement housing for the residents of the Pan and Fork. The town also will be in the drivers seat regarding where and what limited development might occur on the property to help recoup costs.