Letter: A potential jewel in Basalt

A potential jewel in Basalt

Allyn Harvey’s guest column in the April 21 Aspen Times hit the nail mostly on the head. He stated that a hotel probably wouldn’t bring as many people to downtown as expected. And neither would high-end condos.

A look back in history hasn’t been addressed. That was when Linda Johnson and the Basalt trustees wound their way down the road with flagpole annexation to recapture City Market’s sales tax, making a deal with the Willits developers that even Eagle County wouldn’t make. They forsook downtown for money, and now Basalt’s chickens have come home to roost.

Basalt’s sales tax revenue has increased with the addition of Whole Foods and new businesses, and a good many Old Town businesses have relocated to Willits. Ace Lane’s proposed development might bring in 400 or so new residences and maybe some additional commercial.

I believe the best use of the old Pan and Fork property is for a river park and performance venue that we can all be proud of for generations to come. It’s impossible to forecast the economic benefits of such a place, but it’s easy to forecast the social benefits. Whether it’s Wagner Park in Aspen, Town Park in Snowmass, Sopris Park in Carbondale or Sayre Park in Glenwood Springs, these large, prime, potentially commercial properties have been preserved for the common good. Make it multipurpose with art, music, nature, education and water dancing in harmony, and the Basalt river park has the potential to be the crown jewel of town parks in the Roaring Fork Valley.

P.J. Jaycox