I’m asking for your vote for small town Basalt | AspenTimes.com

I’m asking for your vote for small town Basalt

First of all, many great things have happened in Basalt since I was elected to office 8 years ago. After an economic downturn, the long awaited Whole Foods Grocery opened its doors. We now have wonderful restaurants and great retailers. Willits Medical is up and running. In our downtown, spaces that once were empty are alive and kicking. The Basalt Avenue underpass is funded and soon will safely connect our Southside neighbors and schools to our downtown.

Right now, we are at a decision point as to Basalt’s future. As we look ahead, my opponent and I differ on where the road should lead.

I believe that the Pan and Fork Park can and should be Basalt’s identity. To me, this is crystal clear. It is also clear to our residents. Folks responding to questions about the future of Basalt have said it again and again. Citizen petitioners have said the same. They want an active legacy park, a place to run into friends other than the grocery store. They also want a restaurant, a place to enjoy music and a beverage while watching their kids play Frisbee or ice skate.

Fortunately we are poised to make this happen. There have been no tax increases for the purchase and improvements of this land. Going forward, we have willing government allies who will partner with us on the land. With the right council partners, we can do this and we can do it right now.

My opponent has argued for up to 150,000 square feet of buildings lining the street along the river. He has consistently supported high end residential use as a way to “make the numbers work for the developer.” Even the town’s own financial consultant has assured us that the developer will require public subsidy to make that project work.

I believe that private development should pay its own way.

I also believe that there should be a demonstrated community need before we approve large developments like those my opponent champions.’

Recently, my opponent voted for a $15 million subsidy for the Willits investors and to approve an additional 90,000 square feet of buildings. The Willits project is only half built. It makes little sense to hurriedly approve more and subsidize it with tax money.

My vision is of a small town Basalt. To move forward as a small town, we need a new majority on council who share the vision of our citizens.

My opponent has had the support of the majority council for 4 years. In that time, we have not seen anything that approaches a vision, much less any concrete proposal for the Pan and Fork.

I undertand supporting friends and family. But when it comes to voting, we must all think about the future of Basalt. Over the many years, my opponent has voted aggressively for all growth proposals. I vote pragmatically based on Basalt’s ability to remain a small town where I want to live.

Please vote for me by April 5.

Jacque Whitsitt


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