A golden opportunity for Basalt | AspenTimes.com

A golden opportunity for Basalt

I would like to clarify some misinformation regarding ballot question 2F in the Basalt election regarding the purchase of the Pan and Fork property by the town for a mix of park and other uses. The purchase of these 1.3 acres is specifically for a park, not for development.

To that end, the Pitkin County and Eagle County commissioners have committed $400,000 toward this effort in the hope the residents of Basalt will take advantage of this partnership to vote “yes” on ballot question 2F. Along with both counties’ open space and trails boards, all understand the tremendous opportunity to help acquire and preserve this unique property for a Town River Park.

I have heard from a few residents as well as those opposing the purchase of the property that Pitkin County would control the use of this property. This is simply not true!

Each $400,000 contribution comes without any stipulations other than that a conservation easement be placed on the property that would become a river park. These contributions are meant to make the purchase more affordable for the community; in return, a conservation easement will ensure that the park portion of the 2.3 acre Pan and Fork property remains a park in perpetuity. In fact, the town of Basalt will draft the conservation easement. Pitkin County will act only as the holder of the conservation easement. The acceptance of the conservation terms in order to donate the public open space funds does not make either the county a player or even a participant in the planning process or in determining what the town approves — that is a permitted park use. In addition, the conservation easement has no applicability at all to the adjacent commercially zoned parcel. The Basalt community will have full control over this piece of land in terms of its amenities and uses.

The reason a conservation easement is held by a second party is to provide an additional layer of protection to ensure the conservation easement is not undone by future elected boards.

I, along with my fellow board members and our Open Space and Trails board, encourage Basalt residents to use our contribution along with Eagle County’s to take advantage of this opportunity and vote “yes” on question 2F. This is an opportunity for the town of Basalt and your visitors to enjoy a unique park landscape that will enhance the environment and economy of the community. As with our other joint partnerships with the town of Basalt, including the Grange Conservation Easement, Emma Open Space, Glassier Open Space, the Basalt Community Garden and BMX course, we all realize the long-term values of these purchases. We support this purchase because open public spaces and river access are vital to all of us living in the Roaring Fork Valley. Current politics aside, I ask that you take the long view of what this purchase will mean now and for future generations.

Vote “yes” on question 2F.

George Newman

Pitkin County commissioner

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