Letter: Unfriendly business climate in Basalt

Although we are not full-time residents of Basalt, we have been home owners here for the past 10 years. It is our second home every summer and the full-time home of our daughter and her family of five. Our interest in the future viability of the town is sincere for the sake of our investment in our property and the quality of life for ourselves and our grandchildren.

When we first came to Basalt in 2005, the downtown area was thriving. It has been disappointing to watch Willits grow and thrive while downtown Basalt struggles and declines. We have watched many fine retail shops and restaurants go out of business or move to Willits over the years. We have an awareness of the anti-business and anti-development attitude of the Basalt community leaders from the business people we have come to know.

The events of 2014 that were exciting to us that included the bond offering that enabled the purchase of the property that would change the mobile home park on the Roaring Fork River into mixed-use development. We attended some of the meetings where the community was involved in the process for how that development would occur. It was very rewarding to us and our family. That mixed-use development would draw more business to downtown Basalt and also help service and retire the bonds, therefore benefiting all Basalt property owners and taxpayers.

We now understand that the mayor and other insiders have circumvented the residents’ desires and are pushing development of a non-revenue-producing city park for a major portion of the land. This community has no lack of recreational opportunities for residents, but there is a very real lack of lodging, dining and upscale retail in downtown Basalt to attract visitors who will spend money with our local businesses.

We are business people who have invested in other communities and seriously considered making an investment in a quaint lodging development in Basalt several years ago. We did not pursue the idea because of the unfriendly business climate in Basalt. The anti-growth attitude of the town leadership is holding the community back and downtown Basalt is in a death spiral as a result.

Joe Kercheville