Letter: Keep Basalt the way it is | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Keep Basalt the way it is

Keep Basalt the way it is

Your choice, Basalt — expand the existing Pan and Fork park by 1.3 acres for an additional $2.9 million of taxpayer money. Or, preserve and finish what is already a beautiful riverfront park allowing the town to grow and prosper while adding revenue and jobs instead of costing the taxpayers more than $8.8 million. Most all of the downtown business owners are against this additional purchase while supporting the beautiful park we own just the way it is.

In 2013, the voters of Basalt passed a $5 million bond to buy the Pan and Fork, remove the trailers and relocate those residents. Unlike the claims made by some, this was not done with any vision of living in a riverfront condo but envisioning this beautiful riverfront park and the safety and well-being of the residents to be relocated.

What followed was one of the most remarkable town planning processes I have witnessed in my 46 years in the Roaring Fork Valley. Thanks to the guidance of Mike Scanlon, the Basalt town manager at the time, everyone was included in the process. It was not just architects and planners. Every resident was asked to participate and present their visions for the future of Basalt. This included a huge outreach to all the schoolchildren.

Instead of incorporating all these wonderful and imaginative ideas, those in power chose to ignore their constituents and proceed with their own narrow view of the future. This style of leadership has fractured and disenfranchised the residents of Basalt. Their leadership style and lack of good governance and just plain zero “get ’er done” attitude leaves a void that cannot help but be filled with acrimony and frustration.

The Pan and Fork park that Basalt already owns is larger than two football fields, including the end zones. Actually, the town owns 29-plus acres of parks. In addition, our counties have over 75 percent open space land.

The parks in Salida and Buena Vista that the “Buy the Park” faction keep referring to all have one thing in common: they all have hotels, restaurants and retail on the river or adjacent to these parks. Parks by themselves do not bring people from far and wide to visit, especially during winter months.

Vote “no,” save $2.9 million and keep the park and the Community Development Corp. parcel the way it was envisioned. This will allow much needed future development in Basalt. Get the developers to invest the money instead of the taxpayers and give Basalt a place to grow. That will add vitality to the downtown core and additional tax revenue for the things we need like affordable housing and day care just to name a few.

Laura Clasen

Basalt


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