Letter: Enough is enough
Having read Doug Cooper’s letter to the editor in the March 31 paper (“Vote for Jacque,” The Aspen Times) and other letters over the past month with the similar theme of urging votes for Jacque Whitsitt because Rick Stevens is a developer, I must say enough is enough. Either Cooper does not know anything about that of which he speaks or he is parroting the line of duplicitous codswollop that has become repetitive in letters supporting Jacque. Here are some course corrections as I understand them, having asked Rick for details and having had my business since 2005, first at Riverwalk and now at Riverside.
From 1994 to 2004, Rick was voted for mayor three times by the people of Basalt. Riverside Plaza was, if you will, before Rick’s time, having already received its approvals. Rick was mayor when Riverwalk was finally approved, after a reduction in size of the building closest to the river with the pocket park and walk along the river as part of the deal. The little park is serene and beautiful.
“Ten years later, neither project could be hailed objectively as a success as Riverwalk’s commercial space had never been fully occupied and Riverside Plaza was partially foreclosed upon,” Cooper wrote. When I came to Basalt in 2005, it was buzzing, with everything fully occupied and an article in The New York Times about what a cool place it was. The rent at Riverwalk on my 1,500-square-foot space was more than $7,000 a month (the highest in the whole midvalley). My Eagle County taxes totaled over $20,000 a year. When my five-year lease ended and I could get no reduction in rent, I moved to Riverside. It was fully occupied except for a space on the parking lot. And then there was a recession. One of the eight buildings at Riverside went into foreclosure. Surely, Mr. Cooper, you are not blaming the recession on Rick.
Cooper wrote about “advocating private development on the bulk of the remaining downtown access to the Roaring Fork River.” I gather you do not go to Town Council meetings or watch them on GrassRoots TV, because this statement is so false it makes my teeth hurt.
Rick was mayor when the Roaring Fork Club went online and 20 employee-housing units were built. The 50-unit employee-housing building now being constructed next to the Elements Hotel was delayed by the council several times while Willits and Whole Foods got on their feet and could provide a wonderful stream of tax revenue for all of Basalt.
Do you know, Mr. Cooper, that Rick is an artist? In my gallery, I have seven pieces of his art — authentic replications of Plains Indians’ weaponry. To make such art requires dedication, study, patience, attention to detail and considerable skill. That is the type of person I want as my mayor.
Lynne Pfrimmer Mace