Basalt park: Getting beyond boilerplate

Mike Petrie’s letter to The Aspen Times (“Plans for the Pan and Fork,” Oct. 31) captures the sentiment many of us have concerning the current negotiations and plans for the Pan and Fork land. Are 22 condos and a few employee units really the best use for Basalt’s one shot at a river park? You can visit the most obscure towns in the Rockies — towns isolated and nearly forgotten — and yet, somehow they’ve managed to come up with attractive parks with sufficient green space. It baffles the mind why Basalt, a town chock full of planners, designers, architects and highly educated citizens can’t figure out something more interesting and beyond that which merely cash flows.

I thought Petrie’s idea of the town buying the darn CDC parcel, relocating the current Town Hall to the spot next to the Rocky Mountain Institute, and then selling the current Town Hall site to recoup costs was a far better alternative than the path we seem to be headed on. I don’t know what the total value of real estate is in Basalt and her nearbys but it’s got to be north of a billion dollars (the median value of a house in Basalt is $600,000). The idea that a town that well capitalized can’t come up with $3.5 million to purchase the CDC parcel and then do something a cut above mundane commercial development beggars belief.

If the destiny and design of the Pan and Fork land is dependent on a commercial developer, then guess what? We’re going to get something whose design is based on carefully charted spreadsheets, not something that serves the town’s greater good and its future.

Mr. Petrie is right: Basalt can do better.

Mark Harvey