Basalt residents will vote in coming weeks on the future of an old mobile home park.
The issue is a controversial one. The town is asking residents to buy land they’ve already sunk money into, and to spend more to spruce it up. Aspen Public Radio’s Wyatt Orme has this report.
It’s called “Pan and Fork” because of the confluence of the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork rivers. The property isn’t the most attractive right now, but it has potential.
“It looks like it could be developed into something really nice,” says Gretchen Arntz, who’s visiting from Boston.
Ballots this fall will start asking Basalt’s voters questions about how the property should be used. Question 2F asks if the town should buy a piece of property it’s already spent money rehabilitating. 2G, contingent on 2F, asks if taxpayers should spend more money making it a nice park. It’s a multi-million dollar question.
“I think it would be full of people,” says Mayor Jacque Whitsitt about the park. “My personal vision is that in this corner over here, we would have a brew pub or a distillery and maybe a place to do events for the winter.”
If approved, one of the 2.3 acres will be set aside for development. For Whitsitt, it’s important the rest remain open space.
“If we don’t make sure we have some open space, we may not have any open space down the road.”
Justin lives in the apartments across the street from the Pan and Fork and doesn’t want to give his last name. “I would like for it to not grow anymore,” he says. “That’s kind of why I moved here. But it’s inevitable, I mean it’s going to happen.”
Daryl Wooly graduated from high school in Basalt and has lived in town for 65 years.
I think that’s gonna be a nice park,” he says. “But we’ve got some awful nice parks around Basalt. Arbaney Park over here is real nice. I guess we can’t turn the whole town into parks.”
Rick Stevens has served as mayor of Basalt three times and narrowly lost to Whitsitt in the last mayoral election. He’s also been on Town Council, and on the planning and zoning commission.
“We’ve created Fisherman’s Park, Old Pond Park, the Confluence Park, and we’ve been working towards the goal of density in the downtown for about 30 years.” Basalt has to promote meaningful development downtown, Stevens says.
“I just think it’s going bust out of our seams and our edges and it’s already showing it could.”
Ballots were mailed Monday. Voters now decide what meaningful development means.