Development discussion omits key demographic
I’m a Carbondale resident who has been unsure about the proposed Village at Crystal River development. So I read everything I could find, I listened to pro and con arguments from knowledgeable people and I attended the public forum.
I’ve concluded that it’s a nice-looking project. I appreciate the developer working to make it consistent with what the town said it wanted; I think he has a right to develop the property he bought, and I’d love to see Highway 133 cleaned up, and I think the project might come close to achieving the developer’s current economic projections. However, the public-improvement fee attached to the project adds 1 percent to the cost of necessities at City Market (and other Village at Crystal River shops), and where else can we really shop? Therein lies the rub.
Personally, I wouldn’t even feel the fee, and neither would my friends who favor the project. “One percent – big deal!” one of them said. But, the lower one’s income the bigger the percentage one must be spend on medication, food and household goods and the less able one is to shop further from home in search of value. For the poor, the fee is indeed a big deal and that is why I have decided to vote against it.
That said, nearly 40 percent of Carbondale’s population is Hispanic, a group whose per capita income is less than 60 percent of the town median. (2009 data from http://www.city-data.com/income/income-Carbondale-Colorado.html ) Thus, many Hispanics will experience an inordinate amount of the fee’s burden. Yet, this group was not represented on the forum panel, few appeared to be present in the standing-room-only audience, and few, if any, have written on the subject in this newspaper.
Given their substantial stake in the issue, I regret lack of Hispanic participation in this discussion and hope to see Hispanics expressing their opinion and protecting perceived interests by voting in the impending election.
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