Number crunching the Basalt park purchase |

Number crunching the Basalt park purchase

Here is proof that Basalt can own the River Park without raising taxes or disruption.

The following are taken from the capital improvement schedule created in the spring of 2017 that was part of a study undertaken by the Basalt Finance Committee. The below items are planned to be funded with the Basalt Parks, Open Space and Trails 1 percent sales tax dollars that council has full authority over:

• $1.3 million earmarked for this in 2020 and 2021 for construction of about 750 feet of trail from Old Pond Park to Spring Creek Bridge and Homestead Drive adjacent to two Rivers Road. (Page 24 of budget.) This trail would likely be one of the most unused trails in Basalt as it parallels an existing one by the Roaring Fork River. Surely this project could be delayed, eliminated or done for far less money.

• $600,000 earmarked for purchase of park land, conservation or trail easements in 2018, 2019 and 2020. (Page 33 of budget.)

• $874,000 already earmarked for 2017-18 for Basalt River Park. (Page 27 of budget)

• $750,000 is earmarked for Arbaney Park improvements for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 (page 35a and 35b). This includes upgrades to paths around park and to replace the pool fence with an attractive fence. Surely this project could be delayed or done for far less money.

The total of these funds is about $3.5 million, which is more than enough value to complete the purchase of the River Park if the Basalt council and the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. work as true partners. Parks, Open Space and Trails funds are restricted and not to be used for day care, schools, roads or anything but parks trails and open space. There is no open space that is more valuable to residents than a true public-serving River Park. Owning the land will deliver the best value to taxpayers by keeping it public and allowing Basalt to select from several developers for the commercial portion based upon public serving criteria.

Mark Kwiecienski


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