Letter: Vote for a better Basalt

My 11-year-old son met Rick and Diane Stevens in the Syracuse airport security line when we were flying back to Colorado this summer from our vacation in the Thousand Islands. Both Rick, Diane and I grew up in central New York with a love for the outdoors, and we each learned a lot about teamwork by playing lacrosse in the Haudenosaunee tradition. So, to some degree, it was just another one of those random small-town chance experiences that we’d share a cross-country ride together for the next seven hours.

While we were grateful knowing we were headed back to the mountains and our kids’ hometown of Basalt, Rick also knew it was time to get back to work. Somewhere over Buffalo, Rick showed me and my son his recently taken iPhone pictures of downtown waterfront redevelopment in his hometown of Baldwinsville. The combination of vitality uses with a fantastic public park along the Erie Canal and Seneca River was an economic game-changer for Baldwinsville. The applicability to Basalt was obvious: time-tested results with public-private partnership solutions working for the greater good of the community and downtown.

Rick had many other inspired case studies on his phone that he shared from field trips with Diane to Bridgeport, Irondequoit, Sodus Bay, Sackets Harbor, Seneca Falls, Lake Placid and Clayton. While we were having lunch together during the Chicago layover, I wondered why the current mayor hadn’t grasped the leadership challenge in front of her and imagined a better Basalt for my kids’ generation. Instead she chose to fear growth and oppose change.

Rick Stevens knows leadership from experience. He brought the Roaring Fork Club and Roaring Fork Conservancy to Basalt. He fought to keep the post office and library downtown. He is a founding member of the Basalt Affordable Community Housing citizens’ committee and he is one of the visionary authors of our River Master Plan. Rick is willing to compromise for the greater good of the town rather than divide us over ideology. Rick also understands common sense: It takes more than a park to build day care and affordable housing as well as fund an expensive but critical pedestrian linking underpass. It takes balance and vision. It takes a united community.

We landed on time in Aspen before sunset and raced home downvalley to Basalt. The lessons learned traveling with Rick for just a few hours: No growth goes nowhere; embrace the capacity for change with honesty, integrity and vision. Vote with us for Rick Stevens and a better Basalt!


Chris and Susan Touchette