There’s two efforts in Basalt to gather support for how to use the Pan and Fork parcel. “We want this one of a kind riverfront property to include a multipurpose event center to reflect the citizen input,” says Doug MacDonald, “which centers on the desire for arts, events, family activities and river orientation, and strengthens our recreation-based economy.”
MacDonald is with the group called Friends of a Basalt River Park. He and others are gathering names of people who support the following approach for handling the more than two acres along the Frying Pan River near downtown. That could also include a boutique hotel and restaurant, but MacDonald doesn’t want housing of any kind. He and his fellow residents are hoping to build a database of six hundred supporters by the end of September. They’ll use those contacts to rally public action if they believe the Town of Basalt is going to allow a bigger development.
“The Town really needs to acquire the property, and thereby have the ability to limit the size of the development,” continues MacDonald. “We’re worried about scale on the property next to the river.” That would mean buying out the Roaring Fork Community Development Corporation.
Basalt resident Mark Kwiecienski supports a similar vision for the area. But he’s taking organizing efforts one step further, circulating a petition with specific requests for Town Council. That includes Basalt setting aside a certain section of the land for a community center. The petition would not be legally binding but Kwiecienski hopes it prevents a public vote in the future. “The goal is to have the council members pause, and welcome in, and actually give the public options the same degree of care and respect, and time devotion that they’ve given to the development oriented options,” he said Friday. Kwiecienski says previous efforts by town officials to include public opinion weren’t done well. He believes the process didn’t accurately represent what the majority of residents want.
This summer saw a series of contentious meetings about what to do with the Pan and Fork parcel. Town Council flip flopped, first deciding to hold off on exploring options with a developer, then voting to pursue doing just that. The developer is proposing a hotel and possibly townhomes. All of the options include open space.