Village could be a boon |

Village could be a boon

Dear Editor:

I really have to question whether the people fighting the Village at Crystal River based on the Locals for Smarter Growth statement are representative of the best in Carbondale.

Until recently I was leaning toward the Village but not really committed. Then I started thinking about my own buying habits. I buy most of my groceries outside Carbondale because of the deplorable City Market in town and the lack of selection. No, I don’t believe people from Basalt or Glenwood would come here to buy groceries, but I certainly believe that people here would not leave to buy groceries in Glenwood or Basalt with a new City Market here in town.

If I am going to Basalt to shop, I don’t buy gas there because they seem to gouge the local residents even more than the gas stations in Carbondale, so I buy gas if I happen to go to Glenwood Springs, and I save between $3.50 and $4 per fill-up, which would take care of about $350 to $400 of public improvement fee charges, which I might be paying to shop at the Village at Crystal River in Carbondale.

Yes, I have heard the story about the Roaring Fork Valley being so remote and gas has to sell for more money than anywhere else, etc. In reality I can buy gas in Moab or Grand Junction for $3.12 a gallon, and they are far more remote than Carbondale or Aspen. It just seems like a habitual case of price fixing – just drive down Highway 133 and look at the gas prices. Maybe each of us is not going to suddenly spend $1,000 more per year in gas, but I do know this: If gas sold for less money, more people would buy it here rather than elsewhere.

In reference to the Locals for Smarter Growth statement that Carbondale has been constantly evolving with new businesses and saying our restaurants and artistic venues are proof of that: To that I say what about my other daily needs, how much of that is available in Carbondale?

Moving on to getting other essentials such as clothing, pet items, etc. I wind up buying them at the old Glenwood Springs Mall, Wal-Mart or the new Glenwood shopping center where I pay a public improvement fee charge of 1.5 percent rather than the 1 percent that I would pay in Carbondale. Of course I would have to have like items available at the new Village at Crystal River. Anyway, I think you get the picture.

Locals for Smarter Growth (aka not all locals) have had more than 10 years to come up with a better idea of what can be built along Highway 133. After 10 years they still haven’t come up with anything but wanting to continue living in their time capsule. I thought the majority of people in this country wanted change.

Based on the Locals for Smarter Growth numbers assuming that we fork out $5 million over a period of 24 years for the additional fee on groceries, and based on a population of 6,400 residents in Carbondale, that comes out to a fee of $0.62 per resident per week. I would say that it would cost more in gas to go to Basalt or Glenwood to buy your groceries.

Regarding the proposed fast-food joint, I really don’t know how much they will or will not make.

I will continue to patronize the local restaurants that I like, and I would assume everyone else will also.

As far as housing goes, no developer in his or her right mind would be building houses now, especially with houses in some case selling for less than they can be built for.

In reference to jobs, yes, the Village at Crystal River also will provide construction jobs – not necessarily a bad thing for a valley where a huge percentage of people used to make their living from construction and are now unemployed. Of course I am going by what the developer said: It is their goal to hire locals. I think this project probably would produce more in wages over a few years than the fee would cost in 24 years, and the money would stay local. In as far as long-term jobs go, they might not be on top of the wage scale, but at least people will not have to commute to Glenwood or Basalt and Aspen to get there.

While I agree with the statement by Locals for Smarter Growth that no one came for a mall, I disagree with their statement that no one will choose to stay because one is built. See the Friday edition of the Aspen Daily News.

I hope that the people against this or on the fence will consider all the issues brought up for or against the Village at Crystal River and make the right decision in terms of what is best for this community.

Victor Torell


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