Letter: Vote for long-term community values

The upcoming Basalt mayoral and council 2016 election is a referendum about the citizens’ initiative to create an iconic public riverside park in downtown Basalt. This opportunity to create a lasting legacy for all the residents of the Roaring Fork Valley is a rare gift that we cannot allow the pro-development faction to squander. The Pan and Fork voter referendum petition generated by Basalt business leaders and its residents and presented to the Basalt Town Council has been thwarted twice by pro-development council members led by Rick Stevens and Herschel Ross.

Basalt needs your help. The mayor of Basalt needs your help. The current and future residents of the valley will thank you for supporting a dynamic riverside park to create long-term vitality and community participation in downtown Basalt rather than sacrificing the property for another exclusive high-end development for millionaires.

Mayor Jacque Whitsitt and Councilman Gary Tennenbaum, along with many other dedicated community activists, local business leaders and concerned residents, have worked to raise the awareness that the proposed Pan and Fork development plans are clearly out of scale for the site, designed with ugly modern architecture that fails to honor downtown Basalt’s rich historic heritage and of being cleverly packaged to offer up a predetermined planning process that favors a single, upvalley development proposal for the wealthy and exclusive

The people have seen the future and instead of ugly development on this rare, riverside parcel in downtown Basalt, they want a park and shining river that runs through it. We need a mayor and a council that will work to implement this vision. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Let’s not allow the big development interests to build another resort “amenity” for Aspen’s rich in the heart of Basalt.

Let’s work together to create and offer this gift of community health, river corridor vitality and respect for nature to future generations of valley residents and guests. This is a proud community legacy that Basalt can purchase for less than the price of just one upvalley McMansion. It is bargain that we as a community cannot afford to lose the chance to own.

I urge you to re-elect our dedicated mayor and also elect new faces on the Town Council that will respect the community’s initiative and that will support the long-term community value that a riverside park offers to Basalt and all the valley’s residents.

Royal Laybourn