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Basalt library plan perfect for Houston

Developers usually get the distinction of being the pigs that rape the ranch land in this valley. Here in the midvalley, governmental agencies are sharing that role.

Notice the pattern of sprawl projects and who is behind them. The school board built our high school away from the town center and other schools; Eagle County built a monster office building, and the worst intersection in the valley, in the unincorporated portion of the county; the feds built a large post office in Basalt, which produces the worst light pollution in the valley.

The next project on the burner is a new library in El Jebel. It is proposed to be about the size of the post office and surrounded by asphalt.

One library board member, a documentary filmmaker, has more or less resigned over this El Jebel location. We all know his film, “Subdivide and Conquer.”

The library board has other problems. They asked the Basalt Council to move the annual Battle of the Bands away from their library. This event is a wildly successful showcase for young people who play music. Some of the music is a challenge to listen to, and some is fantastic. The kids have fun, and some people would say this is the kind of thing that Basalt is really all about.

The library board hired a consultant from Houston, Texas, to design the new library. The design that came back is perfect for a suburb of Houston. It is a large structure in a sea of parking lot. The new building site was to be near Basalt High School. Then there was a problem because one of the library board members had an interest in that land. She refused to admit a conflict of interest.

The library board did do one thing I can agree with. They held a series of public meetings to get public input. The result was an overwhelming consensus to keep the library near the Midland Avenue core of Basalt.

I hope we can learn from our neighbors in Carbondale that this is much like the Marketplace project. It is the wrong project at the wrong time. Why is there a mentality of “Let’s do something even if it’s wrong?”

Only we voters can prevent this project. If not, we are the sprawl monsters.

Jim Paussa

Basalt


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