Letter: Charlie Brown and Lucy in Basalt
I believe: 1) Attacks on multiple fronts are underway in Basalt to keep the Pan and Fork question off the ballot or to make it fail. 2) The demonstrations about mayor texting is a distraction to the real issue — the future of the river park. 3) Town Manager Mike Scanlon has been what I call the “privatize the river park with condos” group’s biggest ally, and that is why they say he is such a great manager. 4) The latest “civil disobedience” (“Scanlon hires attorney for talks with Basalt,” The Aspen Times, Aug. 16) appeared to be by members of the “privatize the river park with condos” consortium and was meant to interrupt the ballot process. The deadline to pass ballot language is 10 days away. If not done in 10 days, it would again keep the public from having the chance to decide the parks fate.
With respect to the river-park ballot question, DHM Design Corp. of Carbondale was commissioned to refine the plans that were set in motion a year ago with heavy developer influence. Outrageous budget projections on public-serving plans could make a bond issue fail, so any developer proposal would look better.
DHM is in a paid fiduciary role to all Basalt residents. By looking at the estimates, you likely will be confused as to whom it represents. Somehow estimates from a company called Aspen Custom Ranch Enterprises accompanied DHM’s plans into the official packet. The estimates seem so outrageous that they likely would cause the bond initiative to fail and effectively push the property into the hands of the developer holding an option on the property, Lowe Enterprises. A large number of the members of the “civil disobedience group” that interrupted the last Town Council meeting also had been very vocal supporters of both the pro-development mayoral candidate who lost and also Lowe Enterprises’ humongous proposal to privatize the river park. A sampling of their budget estimates follow:
A) Trash cans. Estimate: $2,500 each. The city of Aspen pays $780 each for its bear-proof containers, according to the Aspen city purchasing agent.
B) Remove about 150 linear feet of metal fencing bordering Two Rivers Road. Estimate: $65,000. A bid has since been submitted by another party to remove the fence for $2,700. You read correctly — $65,000 and $2,700.
C) Many other “estimates” are multiples of actual bids submitted since. They are only concept-level plans that spell out quantities. Are the bears that much rougher and tougher in Basalt?
This past week, I have heard some members of the anti-Jacque Whitsitt developer support group trying to pin the blame for the outrageous park costs on the council, the mayor and the public-serving-park concept. Reminds me of Lucy blaming Charlie Brown for missing the field goal after she pulled the football away. Aaugh!
The public-river-park vision is an easy no-brainer if no one pulls the ball away. Have Linus hold the ball, Charlie Brown. You can do it! Go, Basalt!
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