Letter: Visitors need places to stay longer
Kudos to Renee and Heather of Heather’s Savory Pies and Tapas Bar for the fabulous work they have done in creating such a warm, inviting and friendly restaurant in our little town of Basalt. With all the turmoil that has been going on regarding the Pan and Fork and the lack of vibrancy that Old Town Basalt has lost, they have managed to make their restaurant one of the only places that gets so busy — at times, it is standing-room only. Their dedication and endless hard work, along with involving music almost nightly, in my opinion, is the reason it has become so successful, to say nothing about the great food they serve. We need more dedicated and fun-loving people in our town who are willing to devote their time and energy to getting the vibrancy back.
It seems most of the energy for at least a year has been spent bickering back and forth as to what should or should not be constructed at the Pan and Fork location. If the Pan and Fork becomes just a park (which would be delightful), the park will become an attraction where people go for the day (like Maroon Bells) or perhaps spend an evening at a concert or a play and then leave. We need places for visitors to stay and spend time enjoying Basalt. They need to visit the restaurants and retail shops, hike, bike and fly fish for more than just a day if the town wants to bring in revenue. I realize how special and unique it is to have the two Gold Medal rivers coming together in our town, and that is why my friend brings a group of men and their wives from all over the U.S. to Basalt every September for four days to attend the 12th annual Rocky Mountain Fly Fishing Classic to benefit cystic fibrosis. Over the past years, they have complained about how poor the motels have been here in Basalt. Sure, soon they will be able to stay in new hotel in Willits, but why not make it appealing for them to stay in downtown Basalt? We want them to enjoy our quaint town and leave with great memories that they can tell their friends and families.
If we are going to have a vibrant town where people can come and visit for more than a day, then the folks of Basalt are going to have to quit being selfish about what they personally want and do what is best for our town.
We also need to have affordable housing in or around our town in order for our local folks to be able to live where the work.