Seeking balance in Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Seeking balance in Basalt

The town of Basalt has the unique opportunity to not only combat climate change but to construct a stimulant for the teetering economy of old town Basalt. Yet land developers are being denounced as evil and the proposition of a 3.2-acre green space will gain support from the well-intended masses.

The housing shortage in the Roaring Fork Valley is contributing to the current environmental crisis. The travel routes of commuters living along the Interstate 70 corridor play a role in high-level downvalley vehicle congestion and carbon dioxide emission inflation.

There is undoubtedly a paradox of preserving the natural beauty of the heavily debated land on the Roaring Fork River, but there is little environmental benefit from preserving land situated at Basalt’s urban core and center for transit. In fact, this type of preservation only exacerbates the issue, widening the gap between affordable homes and economic epicenters and promoting uncontrolled sprawl onto land that should be protected outside of the urban growth boundaries.

The newest version of the Pan and Fork proposal saw a reduction in residential space and a new community center. Still, the economic gain of a hotel, a store or a restaurant is missing. With the right balance of residential and commercial development, the four-way stop has the potential to become a colorful intersection of historic old town Basalt and contemporary new town Basalt, with an environmental advantage.

Megan Maley

President, Basalt High School Environmental Club


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