Letter (Wednesday, Aug. 14): A quaint Basalt is just perfect
August 13, 2013
I read with fascination Monday's column by Paul Andersen titled "A new and improved Basalt?" Andersen quoted our new town manager, Mike Scanlon, as saying that a potential "mega project" could define Basalt for years to come.
No doubt Scanlon is correct in his statement. However, I stand with Andersen in his belief that we as a community have more to lose than to gain by upgrading the downtown corridor.
Recent events such as the development of the Willits area around Whole Foods have made shopping much easier, but in terms of the life we lead here, it has brought with it massive traffic issues (everyone seems to be in a race), streetlights that make one feel they are driving down Colorado Boulevard in Denver, excessively large bus stops with related VelociRFTA branding and the feeling we live in a big city.
This development also has changed the environment from what was once a wetland to a concrete-and-asphalt jungle.
My wife and I moved to Basalt from Aspen a bit reluctantly. We work during the winter in Aspen, so the daily commute was and is not very appealing. I miss seeing the snowstorms as they happen and the luxury of walking to work. But we made the choice because we were priced out of the housing market upvalley.
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Basalt has become home. We like the convenience of walking into town for a burger. We like catching up with friends at the local pubs, the hardware store or the market. We really like the quiet and easy access to biking, hiking and fishing.
I believe that the prospect of a mega project will displace families, increase the traffic in the town and increase the need for policing, firefighting, mass transit and public education.
What is wrong with the status quo?
Upgrading the commercial buildings, building more parking lots, providing more residences and perhaps even building a motel or hotel are just not in the community's best interest. Let's let Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and, yes, even El Jebel continue to grow. But let's not follow along with unbridled growth here in Basalt.
Let's embrace Andersen's characterisation of Basalt as a "low-growth, homey, quiet atmosphere with an eclectic social milieu." I believe he is right when he says, "Something may be gained, but what's lost is an irreplaceable feeling, the stuff of nostalgia and yearning for how lovely and personal it used to be."
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