Letter: Basalt primed to move forward | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Basalt primed to move forward

Basalt primed to move forward

So let's cut to the chase: What is the cost of fixing the Fork to us individually? With the tremendous success of the Willits shopping area, the revenues to the town of Basalt have risen to over $160,000 per month.

The monies dedicated to repaying this bond issue are to be, in large part, from a portion of our open space budget. For this to fail, Whole Foods and the Willits shopping area would have to implode! With the windfall revenues, low interest rates and construction costs, this is the very best time to invest in repairing and recapturing our river front park where the Pan and Fork trailer park was located. The monies from the bond issue will allow us to accelerate the process and create an open space that has, for too many years, been in the shadow of, unfortunately, a continuingly deteriorating trailer park community.

Once the riverfront project is completed, we, as a community, can help to determine how a portion of that open space might best serve us and provide opportunities for revitalization — aesthetically, culturally and commercially — of our Historic Basalt.

Our issue is not whether the residents of the trailer park should be moved. That has already been decided by a very deeply concerned, compassionate and, now, very generous plan developed by our Town Council and manager — to provide those residents with a "jump start" toward seeking housing opportunities that will remove them from harm's way — hopefully within or nearby Basalt.

We are all well aware of the contribution that these residents have made and will continue to make toward our diverse population and would like to see this relocation process provide them with an opportunity that might be dismissed in nearly any other situation, as was the case of two trailer parks in the Carbondale area within the last five years.

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So, are we ready to direct our leaders to go forth and get this done as so many of us have discussed both privately and publicly? It would not be an overstatement that the whole future of downtown development in Basalt hangs in the balance. The economic downturn that started in 2008 nearly shut down our thriving little town and continues in spite of the growth otherwise to be crippling our present attempts to come out of it. In truth, had our Town Council not acted as aggressively as they had, Whole Foods and the Willits shopping area could still be an unfinished foundation!

In the face of difficult times and often no-win choices, the council and manager have worked feverishly and well in our behalf. At a time when governing has taken on new and not always complementary meaning, with their leadership and, hopefully, with an involved community, we can move Basalt forward.

Steve Chase

Basalt