Letter: Basalt needs to think different
After having attended one of the meetings in Basalt concerning the proposed park, I have come to some realizations about this town that I have lived in for the past 25 years.
First, and I hate be the bearer of bad news, but small-town retail is over, done, kaput. You can see it in practically every small town in America including Basalt, Colorado.
Small downtown retail businesses have to compete with larger stores with more inventory that are next to other stores of the same ilk. For Downtown Basalt, that means Willits, the Glenwood mall, Grand Junction, Denver, Silverthorne and more importantly, the Internet.
Resign yourself to it.
Building more retail space in Basalt to complement the rotating empty spaces makes no sense and only fights an ongoing trend. Basalt is going through the inevitable course of becoming a boutique town just like Carbondale, where the downtown is for the most part restaurants, bars, liquor stores and art galleries. The same thing has happened in Aspen where you have the same type of businesses as Carbondale — just add Corporate America to the mix. Yes, some local retail businesses make it, but it is the exception, not the rule.
Secondly, since I worked in Basalt in the mid 1980s and moved to Basalt in 1990, there have been many changes. Anyone who has lived in the area for the last 25 or more years can probably come up with a few examples of how Basalt and any small town slowly loses its character. The property that was Wolf’s cabins on Midland Avenue was replaced with a nice long row of retail space, offices and apartments, the first half of the Pan and Fork trailer court was developed into a similar configuration, and the little country road that led to Emma was plowed under by a four-lane highway. There are many smaller and larger examples, but don’t let it happen again. Don’t let the proposed park area be developed and take away another piece of Basalt’s personality. Building more retail space and condos will not revitalize Basalt and will act more like a nail in its coffin.
The town needs to decide what it wants to look like in 20 or 40 years and needs to “think different” in order to achieve that goal. I say make the open space into a riverside park and in doing so help revitalize Basalt.