Letter: Don’t be fooled again, Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Don’t be fooled again, Basalt

Basalt voters approved a $5 million bond in 2013 to buy the Pan and Fork property, eliminate the trailers and relocate the residents. Then the townspeople, with 18 months of work by the “Our Town” planning process, developed a plan to design and integrate the park land of 3 acres and the 2.3-acre Community Development Corp. developable parcel. Town Council threw that plan out and took a different path. This was shameful. The Our Town effort was one of the best community projects ever. We were fooled.

The town now wants the voters to buy the entire 2.3 acres Community Development Corp. commercial parcel for $2.9 million, leaving just 1 acre for future development. They want the remaining 1.3 acres to enlarge the park, literally killing any future development opportunities. Don’t believe the “buy the park” nonsense. We already own it. And don’t believe this is riverfront property. It’s roadside property along Two Rivers Road.

The 3 acres of park land, which we already own, is two full football fields in size. I support that wholeheartedly. Design it wisely, make it welcoming, beautiful and enjoy it. It will be wonderful.

If the 1.3 acres are lost to enlarge the park, it will deny the downtown core expanding to the west forever. The remaining 1 acre will be located as far away from the core as possible, right next to the Rocky Mountain Insitute.

Downtown Basalt is presently landlocked on all four sides except for the existing Community Development Corp. parcel. It is one of only two parcels that will ever be available. Maybe the old Clark’s Market parcel can become a reality if 7 or more owners come together and agree. I hope so. However, this could be along way off.

The question is, why are we killing one of our core expansion opportunities? Isn’t good planning on 2.3 acres a better option than a three story building sitting on 1 acre next to the Rocky Mountain Institute? That would not be responsible planning. Anything built on the existing Community Development Corp. land should have open space between buildings adding to the park feeling while providing easy access and views to both the park and river. Then the park will truly be utilized as part of the town.

If you vote to purchase the 1.3 acres, you doom the town from ever growing and prospering in the future. It will still be the same struggling town but with a six-month-a-year park. The quote “legacy” will be one of death and taxes for our businesses. They will have to contribute three times more taxes than residential.

Let’s be real: This park is not going to bring people from all over the country to Basalt. We already have two gold medal rivers to enjoy. We have 23 acres of existing parks and 7 more acres yet to be developed along the river. We are surrounded by thousands of acres of open space land. How much is enough?

Please don’t be fooled twice. Vote “no” on 2F and 2G.

Norm Clasen


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