Maine: Basalt project all wrong

My husband and I have owned and operated a restaurant and rental properties on Midland Avenue for 17 years.

Regarding the town of Basalt’s Midland Avenue Streetscape Plan, we strongly believe all businesses on Midland Avenue and the character of Basalt will be critically affected in the short and long term by this project.

Council and staff maintain that the voters overwhelmingly approved this project. The fact is that the vote was to extend a bond for several different projects. There was never a vote on this design. 

I have pleaded with the Basalt Town Council and staff to reconsider the scope and timing of this project. I fear that regardless of the hundreds of people who have signed petitions, attended meetings, and spoken out against this project, that the council is afraid to consider making any thoughtful changes at this point.

We have been accused of not participating in the process until the last minute. This is not true and is insulting to all of the people who have been involved in the process. We have been to the meetings, met with the mayor, town planner, and their representatives. I have written multiple letters to the council and spoken at too many meetings. We have met with other business owners and circulated a petition. It’s just too easy to accuse those with different opinions of not being part of the process.

Why must one of the Connect One designs be our only choice? When did “none of the above” stop being a choice? I would offer that trendy urban design does not belong in historic downtown Basalt.

We need more parking for those who visit our businesses, not less. We don’t need 18-inch sidewalks, planters and trees in the middle of the road or curbless sidewalks.

The town staff has said it is too late to consider changes to this design. I challenge the council to listen to the citizens, visitors, and business owners and to reconsider this flawed project.

Laura Maine