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Don’t decentralize Basalt Library

(This was originally addressed as an “open letter to Basalt citizens. Re: Library relocation.”)

I write to urge you, along with a growing majority of your concerned Basalt neighbors, to defeat the upcoming referendum that would decentralize the Basalt Library to a proposed El Jebel location.

Memorable towns, particularly small townscapes with the character and configuration of Basalt, have successfully evolved around the concept of a centralized place.



That which we call “downtown” provides a wonderful forum for dialogue and encounter, commerce, education, leisure time, as well as the public institutions that support and nurture these elements of our “social capital” and identity of place.

Community “heart” and workability, thus civic wholeness, are the result of certain relationships of proximity and scale of access.




The proposal of the library board to relocate this important facility to El Jebel, away from our schools and civic heart, aside from being borne of a suburban mentality, would not only decentralize a vital community asset but would be the first step toward a “surgical placelessness” of detriment to both the town and the library.

Basalt is not simply a political boundary with decentralized suburban infill – it is a place with a plan and that plan is not based on the “Wal-Mart” model of community planning.

While I believe the proposed El Jebel location was chosen out of both frustration and expedience, it lacks the kind of long-term community vision that is currently being woven into a new master plan for Basalt and its river corridor.

This (almost completed) master plan includes several close-in location opportunities for public institutions, such as the library, that reconcile accessibility, pedestrian proximity, parking and auto-generation issues and workable community relationships. It would, thus, seem highly premature to rush to such an important decision affecting our very vitality.

Let’s make it right by building positively toward far better opportunities for our town’s future. Vote NO to relocate Basalt’s library.

Larry Yaw

Basalt


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