Letter: No reason not to support Arts Campus | AspenTimes.com

Letter: No reason not to support Arts Campus

The purpose of this letter is to pledge my support for the Arts Campus at Willits and to argue that failure to move forward with its development is neither logical nor in the interest of the community.

A quick note on my background. I live in Carbondale, and have for 14 years. Prior to that I lived in Old Snowmass, and have been in the Roaring Fork Valley for over 20 years. Professionally I was a chaired professor of marketing and statistics at the University of Chicago Business School and the Kellogg School of Management. Currently, I am a part-time professor at Carnegie Mellon University. I teach a course in marketing for entrepreneurs and a course on the art and science of prediction.

I have worked with arts organizations and published a paper about the marketing of the arts. Currently, I serve as the chairman of YouthEntity, a Carbondale charity focused on youth development.

I have been following with great interest the controversy regarding the Arts Campus. To my surprise, some members of the Basalt Town Council are opposed to it. Why does this make sense? It doesn’t.

The Arts Campus at Willits provides the Basalt community and midvalley and downvalley residents numerous benefits. It creates a performing-arts venue that is far more convenient than one in Aspen. It will stimulate more restaurants and shops in Basalt and the midvalley. It will generate tax revenue for Basalt through increased spending, estimated to be in the range of $750,000 per year.

What is the cost to Basalt and its residents? The funding for the Arts Campus does not require local tax dollars. The land has been allocated. An independent organization is responsible for its development, not

requiring tax dollars or Basalt town management resources. In other words, it requires zero local governmental funding.

In summary, the benefit to cost ratio of The Arts Campus at Willits is overwhelmingly positive. In fact, it is almost impossible to find a public project that provides the benefits of the Arts Campus at virtually no cost. I have no idea why some of the council members are opposed to it. It is a no-brainer. The residents of Basalt and the midvalley should be disheartened by this opposition and consider what actions should be taken. We are all better off with the Arts Campus. The only issue should be how quickly the funding and development can begin, not why it should be stop.

Robert Blattberg


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