Scott: Only really removing parking spaces
I’d like to apologize for calling any art “bad” in a recent commentary in The Aspen Times (Scott, Aspen Times, March 24).
Art is subjective, which is why taking taxpayer funds and giving it to artists to put their art in the public square is problematic. It’s why decisions based on subjective opinion are supposed to be avoided in politics. If we remove all the pretty trees and creative art from the renderings we’ve been provided of the Midland Avenue project, what we’re left with is an $11.7 million removal of 22 parking places in the heart of Old Town Basalt, where the parking is already packed on any given day.
We’ve been told the sewage system needs replacing but never noticed a problem with the downtown plumbing or a bad smell anywhere in Old Town.
Does it really take tearing up a town for 18 months to replace sewer lines and to “beautify” an already beautiful town? “It’s somewhere between 60 and 80 years old,” Mahoney said of the water and sewer lines. “It’s time.” (“Basalt’s $11.7 million Midland Avenue project gets green light,” Aspen Times, March 8, 2023) But if you don’t know how old the sewer and water lines are — as 60 to 80 years is a pretty broad estimate — then how old are they, and why do they need replacing?
And what kind of civil engineer ever thought it was a good idea to get rid of curbs on a major thoroughfare with large semi trucks and trucks hauling boats utilizing this only passage up and down the Frying Pan Valley and pedestrians walking in and out of stores right next to them?
And those concrete sausages stacked on top of one another at the River Park, with “Basalt River Park” stamped across one of them? What are those supposed to be exactly, curving up toward the sky like some extravagance from the Beetlejuice set? There is no shortage of art in the valley, but there is a major shortage of housing in the valley and a shortage of parking in Basalt
This massive expenditure is not what the people voted for. Voters approved an initiative to “improve essential town infrastructure and beautify downtown Basalt.” (letstalk.basalt.net/midland-avenue-streetscape).