Basalt mayoral candidate: Time to up ‘cool factor’ in Basalt, ready to lead town | AspenTimes.com

Basalt mayoral candidate: Time to up ‘cool factor’ in Basalt, ready to lead town

Bill Kane

After many years of difficult local politics it is now Basalt’s time to shine. We have a bright future and can now focus on the progressive, enlightened and wonderful town that we want to be. We are a town of families, working parents, outdoors people, athletes, researchers, professionals, kids, skiers, fly-fishers and ardent protectors of the environment. We can now work together to improve the quality of life for us and future generations. It is time to up the cool factor in Basalt.

I believe that my 46 years of life in the Roaring Fork Valley, work experience and professional training make me a perfect fit to lead the town in coming years. I have served as a planning director for Aspen and Pitkin County, principal of Design Workshop, vice president of Aspen Skiing Co., and town manager for Basalt during the Great Recession. My campaign is grounded in practical solutions for the many challenges and opportunities before us. I have walked our neighborhoods and listened carefully. With the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and deterioration of economic conditions, it is now more critical than ever to elect a candidate who has track proven experience in managing municipal affairs under stress

The next decade will be an exciting time for Basalt and the midvalley. Projects on my list include:

Complete planning and construction of the River Park

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Control growth and development with the adoption of a new Basalt comprehensive plan

Create a permanent home for the Art Base and TACAW

Fix up and improve vibrancy for downtown and Willits Center

Redevelop the vacant grocery store in Old Town

Set up a Basalt community forum to help resolve difficult community issues

Work with school district and board to enhance quality of education and after school activities

Embrace cultural diversity — set up a Latinx advisory council

Improve transit with ride-share program innovations to decrease traffic on Highway 82

Connect Old Town, Willits and South Side with a connector bus

Protect our fly-fishing heritage by managing our local stream flows

Work with Eagle County to control growth and development on the Highway 82 corridor

Follow through on environmental priorities to include town climate action plan

Build on our mountain biking image and work with CPW to investigate options for Basalt Mountain

Create an attractive environment for knowledge-based nonprofits and allow them to flourish

Revive River Days festival on the new River Park in downtown with major kids focus

Get a CMC campus building in Basalt

Let’s do the Basalt free lunch days again on Midland Avenue.

During my years as town manager from 2009 to 2012, we were able to get Willits out of foreclosure and attract Whole Foods with town-funded infrastructure. We also started the summer Sunday market which has added to our town’s vibrancy — more where that came from.

Basalt is essentially doomed to success; it will be our responsibility to determine what success looks like. I think we can be a sweet town that watches out for our kids, cares for our elders, controls growth and development with smart choices, protects our special natural environment and builds pride in living here. If elected it will be my honor to work with everyone to make Basalt the best it can be.

Editor’s note: Leading up to the Basalt election April 7, The Aspen Times is publishing one guest commentary from each candidate. Kane’s Facebook page is @billkaneformayor and he can be reached at billkaneformayor@gmail.com.


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