Letter: Performance venue would best serve local talent | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Performance venue would best serve local talent

There has been discussion for a long time about what to do with the newly reclaimed riverside land in downtown Basalt. On a similar topic, the downtown businesses are always looking for ways to get more traffic into downtown Basalt, having lost a lot of volume to the Willits area. We have an opportunity for a two-birds-one-stone solution here.

As an active performing musician, I can’t tell you how much of my time I spend driving up and down the valley for rehearsals and performances. We desperately need an adequate performance venue in the midvalley! It would be ideal for it to be one that is state-of-the-art, with both indoor and outdoor performing spaces. It would not have to be large to be a tremendous asset to the Basalt community. Not only would this serve a need for both performers and patrons alike, it would draw more traffic to the downtown community, a win-win for everyone.

The remaining area would be best used as a park with river access, the way some of it used to be. When I envision it, the ground surrounding the new Theatre Aspen building come to mind. That space is lovely, surrounded by gardens, grasses, trees, the river and has close access to the John Denver Memorial Garden, affording patrons the opportunity to enjoy the garden or stroll by the river before or after performances. If the town could build something of that order, it would put Basalt on the map as a destination within the valley. I have no doubt that the community would book up the space in no time with bands, plays, fashion shows — who knows?

I have lived in this community for more than a decade. One thing that I have always loved about it is the wealth of arts and culture here. There are regularly more performances than one can manage to see. For such a small

community, the amount of local talent is really incredible. Why not use this space to highlight this, one of our community’s assets?

Building condos and/or hotels may be a tremendous boon for a small number of people. Building a venue and a park would benefit the whole community. If town tax dollars are going to be used in this project, then the benefit should go to all those who pay in, not just a select few.

While a hotel might bring guests into town, unless we give them a reason to stick around, they are just going to hop in their cars and head on over to Willits or Carbondale.

Finally, we all know that this area has a tourist economy. Why do people love to travel to the Roaring Fork Valley? They come here for our nature, open space and our vibrant but quaint local culture. How is that best served? Not by building more condos and a hotel, but rather a venue and a park.

Maureen Hinkle


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