Letter: Government should work for all people, not just a few
I have been living in Basalt for the past 25 years and have seen Basalt change a lot. The Wolf Cabins property, the first half of the Pan and Fork trailer park and the area where the old library/health-food store used to reside have been developed. Each of these properties has been developed with two- and three-story, brick, mixed-use buildings. I would imagine that when the ReStore/grocery-store property gets redeveloped that something very similar will be built there. Or when the people who own the Two Rivers property decide that they want to flip their property instead of flipping eggs for a living, that property and other similar properties in Basalt will be developed in the same manner. There are still a number of opportunities for development in the downtown area. Think of Bernard’s restaurant building, the three homes at the end of Railroad Avenue, the Basalt Barber Shop, the Aspenault Lodge, the gas station downtown, ReStore and Two Rivers. I am sorry to say it, but they are all tear-downs that will be developed with more three-story brick buildings just like all the available properties in Carbondale, Aspen and every other small, popular town in Colorado. The free market and town of Basalt code decide what gets built where. However, Basalt is a small town, and each of these developments is another small nail in the coffin of a small town such as Basalt. Basalt will be revitalized eventually into its own little concrete jungle. I would think that without very, very strict regulation, it is inevitable. Although the town of Basalt has its own set of codes to regulate building, it can’t stop the onslaught of change and growth on private property, which brings me to the current Pan and Fork controversy. The town of Basalt has an opportunity to preserve a piece of land that doesn’t have to be developed. Don’t let it happen again. Don’t let the Pan and Fork be developed like all the other properties that have been developed and will be developed over the next 30 years. The town should buy out the private holding in the Pan and Fork and keep it open green space. There are more than enough opportunities for growth in Basalt without having to resort to ruining one more property. It is a once-in-more-than-one-lifetime chance to really make an impact on what Basalt will look like after all the other properties in town have been built out. It is a chance to have a large green space, a breath of fresh air in what will eventually be another overbuilt, concrete, brick and glass tourist trap where only the wealthy can afford to live. Don’t give up on the long-term view to satisfy short-term concerns. Do something that can’t be done on private property. Save the Pan and Fork, and make it into a town park. That is what government is for.