Letter: Park will bring more tourism | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Park will bring more tourism

Park will bring more tourism

Dear Town of Basalt staff, residents and council:

I was so thankful when I read the article regarding Jacque Whitsitt standing up for the people of the town. I can’t agree with her more. I have lived in this community for more than 30 years and this is the only time we will ever have again for an opportunity like this.

Many years ago, when Lions Park was first formed, it was to remain a park, and lo and behold, the town of Basalt decided to build their offices there and the library was built there, too. As a result, Basalt no longer had a viable park.

Finally, after all these years, we now have an opportunity to have a real park for town residents and tourists alike to enjoy what this town is all about. With the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Roaring Fork Conservancy and the library all within sight of each other, we finally have a real opportunity to have interpretive trails, a gazebo for music or theater in the park, river rafting, possibly a kayak park, fishing, picnicking and maybe, just maybe, a real comeback for a true River Days (remember how much fun it was when it was in Arbaney Park?)

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to access the park without someone saying you are encroaching on their property (hotel, private condominiums)? I guarantee they may say, “That will never happen. However, you better be suspicious of that statement.

When you have architects deciding what will be great for the river property, of course you will have a decision that is all about development. Does this sound like the lobbyists in Washington?

If they want development, they should take a look at all of the property still available within the city limits. There seems to be quite a bit still available. How about the buildings right across the street that are in foreclosure and are still sitting totally empty with the exception of a few shops and a bank? How about the old Clark’s Market property?

Let us really think about what will really bring people to our town — will it be a beautiful park right on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, the confluence of the rivers, the designated gold-medal waters and the wonderful recreation possibilities? Or will it be about a hotel, condominiums and affordable housing?

Let’s really think this through. This is our last shot at getting this right. Can we please do the right thing for the whole community and not for a few who are looking to gain something for either themselves or a select few?

Let our voices be heard. Staying silent will only take away our last chance and opportunity to get this right.

I love the history of this town and really appreciate what the Historical Society and the town of Basalt did for the residents and the tourists by giving us a self-history tour. Many tourists walk this when they come to visit our town. I guarantee you, a park as I and many others have suggested, will greatly increase the vitality of the town and will definitely bring in more dollars than just a hotel. We have two already and a third being built right now. People go to shops, restaurants, hiking, biking, fishing, on picnics and relax by rivers when they come to towns such as ours.

Let’s make this a town we can really be proud of.

Mary Jo Hughes

Basalt


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