River conservancy buys Basalt site | AspenTimes.com
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River conservancy buys Basalt site

It looks like a Basalt-based nonprofit group dedicated to saving the Roaring Fork River is going to finally get a home on the river.

The Roaring Fork Conservancy closed a deal this week to purchase 16,000 square feet of land from the town of Basalt for $400,000. The lot was carved out of the six-acre Levinson property, which the town purchased for $1.9 million in 2001.

The property is adjacent to the popular Taqueria el Nopal restaurant, downvalley from Town Hall and the library.

Although the land was purchased with money from the town’s open space fund, town officials always made it clear they intended to preserve the portion of land closest to the Roaring Fork River and sell the half closest to Two Rivers Road for development.

A riverside park created by the town will be open for public use next spring. The conservancy plans to build an education center and office building on the land it purchased, which is next to the park and just a short distance from the river. A representative of the organization told the Town Council this week that it is launching a fund-raising drive for the complex.

The Roaring Fork Conservancy was created seven years ago to educate people about the Roaring Fork River drainage and protect the basin. Its office has always been located in downtown Basalt.

The town intends to sell another larger lot where the Taqueria is now located. That lot is about 291,000 square feet, and has been discussed as a possible new home for the Basalt library or for free-market commercial and residential development.

The town hasn’t yet set a price for that parcel. The $400,000 charged for the conservancy’s lot was established by a citizen committee. Town officials previously acknowledged that no appraisal was conducted to set a sales price, but they thought the sales price was fair because only a portion of the property can be developed.

Proceeds from the sale will be returned to the town’s open space fund.

Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com


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