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Big-box baloney

As someone who often works with statistics, I try to caution myself with Disraeli’s aphorism, “There are three kinds of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics.” The current chart being circulated by the big-box developer in Carbondale indicates that they did not follow that caution.

The developer uses the result of a study commissioned to answer a narrow question: If there was a Target in Carbondale and neither the two big boxes in Rifle (a Super Wal-Mart is already under construction) or Glenwood Meadows (which plans host the Target and a Lowe’s big box) were built, then how much revenue could be generated?

The current Carbondale proposal will not have Target and those other projects are occurring or are in process. Those realities would significantly change an analysis of the proposed market area, which includes everyone from Aspen to Silt.

An assessment of possible revenue from the proposed big box is not possible, given that there is no tenant and no company has expressed an interest in Carbondale. A Dollar General has very different revenue than a Target.

Unless the developer is willing to bring forward an anchor tenant, evidence of his development history, an explanation of the investors in the project, then his speculations about being the town’s economic savior must be taken as campaign propaganda.

The developer’s other ad is titled, “It’s not a cinder block wall along Main Street.” He references conditions of approval by the town to assure voters that the 380-foot-long blank wall (no doors or windows other than a loading dock and emergency exit) along Main Street will not be made of cinder blocks (know in the trade as concrete masonry units).

The town approval condition No. 16 clearly allows concrete masonry units or concrete panel walls for all four sides of the building. Why use a headline for such an outright misstatement? Thanks for the computer-generated photo, though – we needed a good laugh.

No wonder the developer refused to debate those concerned about the impacts of the 12,500 vehicle trips to and from his project, the impacts to existing businesses and concerns about the fact that the big box is bigger than Sopris Park. Full-page ads cannot promote dialogue, but they do allow for deception.

Please vote no to the big-box baloney.

Robert Schultz

Carbondale


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