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Basalt parents rally to preserve

Aspen Times Staff Report

A citizens’ effort to preserve the Riverwalk property in Basalt has struck a chord with people who usually don’t exercise their cords in town politics.

A newly-formed group called Parents for the Park will hold a rally Tuesday at Town Hall as the Town Council meeting starts, according to organizer Jennifer Catto. The group hopes to influence the council’s decision on Riverwalk later that evening, she said.

The rally is designed to give people who have small children a chance to weigh in on the Riverwalk debate. Those parents often don’t attend council meetings, said Catto, who knows from first-hand experience. She has a 3-year-old child and an 8-month-old baby.

But she felt the Riverwalk issue was important enough to try to get parents involved. After 16 months of review, the council is scheduled to decide Riverwalk’s fate Tuesday.

Property owner Frieda Wallison has applied to build nearly 75,000 square feet of residential and commercial uses on the last large undeveloped property on Midland Avenue. Her land is along the Fryingpan River, across from the Catholic church.

The council has demanded that she cut the density by at least 10 percent – a concession Wallison announced last week that she is willing to make.

But Basalt citizens, led by longtime resident Dee Black, want to buy the land and preserve it as a park. Catto said that idea appeals to her and other residents she’s spoken to, so she’s trying to show support through Parents for the Park.

They hope to help convince the Town Council to support the idea of a public purchase of the Riverwalk land.

“It’s a really special piece of land,” said Catto. “Think how special that would be to come across the Swinging Bridge to a grassy open space.”

The Swinging Bridge is a historic landmark across the Fryingpan that is accessed from Midland Avenue by the Riverwalk property.

Parents for the Park will hold their rally at 5:30 p.m. on park land right outside Town Hall. The Sashae store has contributed balloons for the rally and Timbo’s Pizza is donating some pies.

Anyone is welcome to attend, especially parents who cannot move inside for the meeting, said Catto.

“I don’t know how large or small the turnout will be,” she said.


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