Letter: A holiday tale for Basalt
December 18, 2015
A wallet was found by a poor man. He looked inside and found it packed with cash. He counted it and envisioned all the things he could do for the wife he loved, plus his children whose grandchildren all needed new shoes. He thought about how good he would feel with all them having new shoes. He did not immediately turn in the wallet but went to bed and then dreamed a fitful dream as his conscience tugged at him. In the dream he had kept the wallet. His children all had new shoes and stood out among the other town's children but they were not happy he knew the shoes were ill gotten. He awoke in the morning, happy that he had the dream message which showed him the right thing to do. He went and found the owner and returned it. The new shoes could wait. He felt wonderful for having done the right thing.
A group of experienced wealthy real estate developers found a gigantic wallet full of cash, but this wallet involves converting public resources into their own. This tale involves the most beautiful site in the valley in what should be the largest and most spectacular river park that the town could afford, What to do they thought. We could return it to the citizens of Basalt, and allow the initial promise to be kept, but that would not allow us to buy several pairs of shoes for our children or to enjoy the fruits of buying or selling town homes at below market prices. We could make up stories, facts, have our team members lobby to reduce the employee housing requirements, have the parcel master planned to meet our objectives, and manipulate the story about why what we are doing is the right thing to do.
The dream for the future of Basalt is under way this holiday season. The conversion of the Community Development parcel into anything less than being optimal community serving, which is the direction we are heading, is stealing from each and every tax payer and future generations in exchange for new shoes for a select few. Four years ago the public was told that in the end, after the trailers were cleared, that it would be public serving and convinced the town to spent $2.5 million to that end. The town can afford to keep nearly the entire site open rather than just 35 percent open which is the latest proposal with the "polygon" being an optional development parcel as envisioned by those pulling the strings.
The question that hangs in balance for Basalt this holiday season, is whether the full wallet contents be returned to the Basalt citizens, or only after having 50 percent of the cash removed. Happy Holidays to all.
Mark E. Kwiecienski
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