Letter: The people always know best
If Bill Kane, former Basalt town manager, had done his job properly, he wouldn’t be complaining about the lack of development of the Pan and Fork property today.
Residents who created Basalt’s 2002 river master plan did plan for development on part of the property but wanted low, narrow buildings with views of and access to the river.
Kane’s mistake was to set a major plan in motion at the Pan and Fork without the involvement of the community in an honest way. Plans moved forward and the people of Basalt had no idea what was going on. Sure, there were resident groups, but they were a sham. (It would take more room than this letter to explain how surveys, consultants and resident groups can be manipulated toward a predetermined outcome.)
When you don’t let the people in at the beginning of the process, they come in at the end. It happens every time. But town managers never learn. It wasn’t the people’s idea that Basalt should be a nonprofit campus. It wasn’t the people’s idea to put a hotel at the Pan and Fork. It’s not even the people’s idea to make the entire property a park. The community is fractured because Kane and his pro-development circle promoted their own vision. He wouldn’t listen to a small group of us who tried to convince him the entire community needs to plan its future.
The people always know best, but town hall never asks them.
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