Letter: A rare opportunity in Basalt

A rare opportunity in Basalt

As a member of both the Downtown Area Advisory Committee and the Pan and Fork River Park Committee, I strongly urge all Basalt registered voters to sign the two petitions currently being circulated throughout town to guarantee the future of the Pan and Fork parcel as a community river park. The petitions’ goal is for the town of Basalt to purchase 2.3 acres of land from Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. with the expressed intent to maintain 1.8 acres as a downtown, public, community park adjacent to the Roaring Fork River while still allowing for specific limited development on 0.5 acres closer to the new Rocky Mountain Institute development. The petitions’ proposal is consistent with the primary principles as stated by the advisory committee of: 1) connectivity between downtown Basalt and the Roaring Fork River and 2) the Big “V” — maintaining the direct viewplane and, thus, vitality between downtown and the river.

This new 1.8-acre park would be a one-of-a-kind location in the Roaring Fork Valley and would serve as a catalyst to restore Basalt’s identity as a river town! No one has been able to experience the Roaring Fork River from this perspective in over 50 years. The idea of a broad, open, public park leading down to the river needs to be secured from development now while we have the opportunity so that all residents and visitors may enjoy this gem for many years to come.

In addition to the park, the adjacent 0.5-acre area dedicated for development restricted to public uses would serve as a complement to park activities: perhaps a community meeting hall (think Schermer Hall at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass), maybe a performing-arts stage and/or bandshell, picnic areas with outdoor grills and fire pits, etc.

Finally, but quite possibly most important, is the opportunity the park would create to establish a place in the core of our town for the masses. A place that would become the center of activities and events, both large and small. A place where Basaltines could randomly meet their friends and neighbors and share their daily stories with one another. A place where kids could run around in circles laughing (because that‘s what kids do). A place that would become the soul of Basalt.

So, please sign the petitions. The petitions are being circulated throughout the various neighborhoods of Basalt and are also available at Cafe Bernard every morning from 8 to 10 a.m. If you have any questions about the petitions or the process, please do not hesitate to contact a committee member.

Greg Shugars