Letter: Just a park won’t cut it in Basalt
As a business owner and resident in Basalt, I pass by the Pan and Fork site several times a day. I am getting used to and appreciate the newly opened, downriver views of the site and can see how some others might want to continue in this direction. However, after months of contemplating the possibilities for this unique location, turning the eastern end of the site entirely into a park is not best for Basalt’s downtown. Some points to consider:
Basalt has done an incredible job of linking the “Old Pond” and the new “Pan and Fork” parks together with almost 2,000 feet of river park.
While the Basalt Town Council is making long-term decisions for this parcel, we will need to keep all of Basalt’s goals in mind. Basalt’s river parks have undoubtedly been well-represented. Now, historic Basalt’s economic vitality needs equal attention.
Basalt has committed a portion of the land at the Pan and Fork site to the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Roaring Fork Conservancy. Their two large structures will set the street scene for Two Rivers Road. Because of such approved construction of these two nonprofit buildings at the west end of the site, additional buildings along the east portion seem appropriate and fitting.
Soon Willits will see a new hotel that will help perpetuate and create new momentum for its commercial core. Currently, the Willits momentum seems to be at the expense of historic Basalt.
My family and I encourage the Town Council not to make the entire Pan and Fork site a park. More specifically, if there is only one additional structure built after the Roaring Fork Conservancy and Rocky Mountain Institute buildings, it should be a hotel — a place where visiting families can come stay for a week, enjoy our new river park, meet the locals, tour historic downtown Basalt and frequent the remaining businesses.
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