Fort Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Fort Basalt

The schematics of Basalt River Park LLC presented by developer Tim Belinski might better be christened Fort Basalt. I'm not sure a military strategist intent on defending the shores of the Roaring Fork River from Basalt residents could do better than the bulwark of commercial development shown in these drawings.

Hard to fathom that a town presented with its one and only opportunity for a decent park on the river would have 100 meetings over the years and then come up with what is essentially a brick barrier between the town and the river. Basalt may as well just not have invited citizen engagement in the first place.

You don't have to be a planning genius to see that this plan cuts the town off from the river. You don't need to be a genius of any sort to see that throwing up a football field's worth of buildings directly between downtown Basalt and the river does not encourage "connectivity." Connectivity is a term that planners use to describe easy access to public amenities such as parks. And the first rule of creating connectivity between a park and a city is literally don't create "design features that act as physical barriers and impede access to key destinations."

With all the creative talent in the valley there has to be a better way to take advantage of this singular opportunity to create a green space that — 10 or 20 years from now — residents will appreciate, admire and enjoy. I think there have been several plans presented by laymen citizens and professionals alike (some drawn on a napkin) that are far better than this dividing wall presented by Basalt River Park LLC.

Otherwise let's call this plan what it really is: Fort Basalt.

Mark Harvey

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