Letter: Rick Stevens is the right choice for Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Rick Stevens is the right choice for Basalt

Before Basalt voters send in their ballots, I would like to state why I take issue with statements used to describe Rick Steven’s position as a candidate. Also, to clarify some things, as this whole election is full of misrepresentations and a serious lack of information.

It’s been stated that Rick has a “brick-and-mortar” approach. Not so. Rick has worked tirelessly to see the Basalt post office and library built in town rather than at Willits. He also desperately wants to see employee housing built in Basalt. These are great uses of brick and mortar as I see it.

Rick supported the Rocky Mountain Institute’s new building — and what a great thing for Basalt. He pleaded for Whole Foods coming to Willits, bringing better choices in food and supporting local producers — Jacque Whitsitt was against it.

Fact: Not one new commercial building has been built in either the downtown core or southside in the past 10 years. Not one.

Is Rick for rampant development? Of course not. As mentioned, Rick continues to be the champion of employee housing and wants that built as soon as possible. He wants a careful and sustainable approach to growth and always has. He wants a place where our young generation can call Basalt home, raise families and have day care available.

Does Rick want to see commercial development built on the Community Development Corp. parcel? Yes, and here’s why. The people voted for a $5 million bond to accomplish the Pan and Fork by a 66 percent margin. Whitsitt has fought this at every turn while the downtown remains stagnant. More than 16 businesses have been lost to Willits or folded. Basalt needs an upscale hotel desperately to survive on a year-round basis, plus the revenue and jobs it creates. To stop this would be an opportunity lost and a huge debt to Basalt of around $10 million, according to Elher’s Report. Who is going to pay for that? The townspeople come to mind.

The original park was to be 3.5 acres and the development parcel 2.3 acres. Since then, a compromise was reached. The park portion will increase to 4.5 acres and the developable parcel cut to 1.5 acres. The developable parcel is located adjacent to old Highway 82 and not by the river as some have falsely stated. The footprint went from 150,000 to 55,000 square feet. This compromise has been approved by both the Town Council and Planning and Zoning.

Whitsitt wants to throw that out and cut the developable parcel to just half an acre, making it near impossible for any sustainable development. Not realistic.

Lastly, is the Whitsitt Legacy Park going to be Whitsitt’s goal while the town struggles to survive, or do we make this a win-win for all involved? A park alone (closed at least half the year) will not bring the needed vitality to Basalt. It just can’t — it won’t.

Having both a magnificent park and an upscale hotel makes sense. Let’s come together and focus on moving forward, not backward. Vote Rick Stevens for mayor.

Norm Clasen