Letter: Go for a mix of hotel and park
It’s clear that people who are upset about the downtown Basalt revitalization plan have not actually seen drawings of it. Everyone should go to http://www.ourtownplanning.org and take a look at this exciting project that keeps more than 70 percent of the land as green space. It’s unfortunate that Basalt’s mayor has framed the Pan and Fork project as an option of either 100 percent park or 100 percent development. In doing so, she has created a polarizing, and patently untrue, narrative for our community.
A hotel and condos, in and of themselves, will not create vitality. Likewise, a park, in and of itself, will not revitalize the downtown core of our town. But put these two together, and you have a winning combination.
If we want to create a stronger sense of community, we need gathering spaces in our downtown. I am looking forward to seeing weddings, Latina quinceanera processions, retirement parties, birthdays, graduations and proms being held in the park and in the adjacent hotel ballroom. We don’t have any communal space like that now, and the new hotel will provide much-needed event rooms.
I’m thrilled that the Lowe group has thoughtfully incorporated the river and massive green space into its proposal. We haven’t had river access or wide-open river views in this town for decades, and those are being restored for us all to enjoy.
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Basalt’s economy is partially dependent on tourism, and we have a big problem: We have very few tourist beds. If people can’t sleep in the downtown core, they won’t shop or dine downtown and they won’t visit our fantastic new river park. A healthy town also has a mix of full-time and part-time residents. Lowe has wisely chosen to build condos that will appeal to both full-time and part-time condo buyers. Part-time residents are important: They provide much-needed vitality and tax revenue, and at the same time, they don’t financially burden our schools and infrastructure.
It is incumbent upon all Basalt residents to get the facts about this project. Don’t be swayed by the hype and untruths. See it for yourself, and then come to the upcoming community meetings and offer your informed suggestions about recreational amenities you’d like to see in the park. Together, we can create something we’ll all be proud of.
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