Letter: Let people decide in Basalt

I have lived in Basalt since 1971, and before building a home and moving to Holland Hills in 1976, I owned and lived in a trailer at the Pan and Fork trailer park. I still have fond memories of being so close to the river and have always enjoyed the laid-back, historical feel of Basalt that so many residents and tourists appreciate. As a 40-plus-year general contractor in the Roaring Fork Valley, I certainly don’t consider myself anti-development unless it seems to be following an inappropriate path. I am not questioning the professionally presented proposed master plan for the large-scale development of the riverfront land, but I am questioning the location. Wouldn’t it make more sense to create an extensive park and recreational zone on the Pan and Fork property and develop housing, condominiums and office space where the old City Market and recycle center used to be? Surely there is enough land on these two properties to allow for a development large enough for the numbers to make sense to someone who is in the business of crunching numbers.

Basalt stands poised to become an even more desirable tourist destination, and as I see an increasing number of residents come to that realization, doesn’t it make sense that those people be allowed to vote on whether this unique property becomes a further asset to our lives or merely just another set of buildings blocking the view of this expansive stretch of river frontage? The Willits commercial center is just close enough and just far enough away from Basalt to provide excellent shopping and restaurants and a very substantial tax base for the town of Basalt, as has recently been disclosed. We could have the best of both worlds given the opportunity.

That said, I know and respect Rick Stevens, but I support Jacque Whitsitt for mayor because she feels, as do I, that the people who live in Basalt should be allowed to hold an election that decides whether the town should purchase the Pan and Fork property and ultimately weigh in on how it is developed.

David Lambert