Carbondale rocks the way it is
December 27, 2011
In the past week we have been inundated with mailers and pricey advertisements in local newspapers telling us why we should vote “yes” for the Village at Crystal River development. It appears our local philanthropist Jim Callaway has drunk the Kool-Aid. Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Callaway. I think you are a most generous contributor to our community and have done many things to help worthy causes. Unfortunately, the Village at Crystal River isn’t one of them.
Here’s why I’m going to vote “no”: Several years ago, when another developer owned the property, we were told that if we didn’t allow a big-box development like Home Depot or Walmart to be built in Carbondale, our community would “die on the vine” with tumbleweeds blowing down the street and storefronts boarded up with their shingles squeaking in the wind.
Au contraire! Since we bravely stood down the big-box developer, our town has thrived! We have the Third Street Center, Phat Thai, Beer Works, Steve’s Guitars, S.A.W. artists’ studios, Fatbelly Burgers, an upscale furniture store, a leather shop, clothing boutiques, a jewelry store, a locally grown meat store, a running and hiking store, several wonderful consignment stores, a new library on the way, an alternative high school in the old middle school building, and other valuable nonprofits that enhance our community.
We also have seen a bike trail developed from Carbondale past Rock Bottom Ranch to Emma and beyond and another bike trail built from downtown Carbondale along the Scenic Byway Highway 133 toward Redstone. We have a new recreation center. We have the 5 Point Film Festival annually, which joins Mountain Fair, Potato Days, music in the park every Sunday during the summer, and a host of other, much-anticipated community events. Our restaurant and bar scene has improved so much that people from Aspen who are looking for something “real” come to Carbondale for an evening of fun. Carbondale has become so cool!
I hope the majority of us have the common sense to know a good thing when we already have it! Carbondale is at the confluence of two of the most beautiful rivers in the world at the base of Sopris, a mountain that, if you were asked to draw one, would look just like it! We are on the radar of a very coveted clientele of tourists, outdoor enthusiasts, artists, performers and seekers of something unique. They won’t want to come here anymore if we become like everywhere else! Let’s not be like “Anywhere, U.S.A.” Let’s not spoil our nest.
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I hope Callaway’s bankrolling of pro-development messages isn’t enough to buy this election. Those of us in opposition don’t have the big bucks to send postcards and buy full-page ads, but we’re out there with our No. 2 pencils sharpened and ready to vote “no” on the Village at Crystal River!