Carbondale needed `a better deal’ |

Carbondale needed `a better deal’

Big town shopping versus a small town atmosphere.

Sales tax promises versus sales tax speculation.

Long term considerations versus short term changes.

On election day in Carbondale Tuesday, voters explained why they voted yes or no on the Marketplace question.

“The town could have worked a better deal,” said Alice Hubbard, after casting her ballot against the project at the River Valley Ranch polling place.

Hubbard questioned the Marketplace design.

“It’s outdated,” Hubbard said. “Across the country, developers are realizing people want something different. Why build something that’s out of date when you build it?”

Jackie Hansen cast her ballot just before Hubbard. She favored the Marketplace.

“It would be really nice to have more shopping opportunities in Carbondale rather than Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, or Rifle when their Wal-Mart gets built. I’d stay in town if we had more options,” Hansen said.

Voter Ken Maurin, 65, said he’s been “run out of two places by developers,” and doesn’t want to get run out of Carbondale. He questioned the economics of mall development.

“Most of the mall inhabitants are paying such a high price, most of those businesses are marginally, or not at all, profitable,” he said.

“It will draw a bunch of traffic,” he added.

Michele Kister was one of 125 residents who voted at the River Valley Ranch sales center before 10 a.m. Tuesday. She favored the Marketplace.

“The tax revenue base would help the town grow and be a nice little town, rather than a backward town,” Kister said. “And I think having a local marketplace will be great for shopping.”

Malcolm Smith was part of the early morning voting wave that hit River Valley Ranch, which helps to comprise Carbondale’s largest and most affluent precinct.

He favored the Marketplace for two reasons. First, the town needs the revenues, and residents need more shopping options. “But we need the right kind of stores,” he said.

Tripp Sutro voted at Town Hall during Tuesday’s lunch hour. He voted against the Marketplace.

“I don’t think we’re ready for the Marketplace. It’s too big, and for the amount of revenue the town needs, there’s not going to be enough business out there,” he said.

Several residents who hit Town Hall to cast ballots were directed to their correct precinct, which in most cases turned out to be River Valley Ranch.

Glenn Smith was one of those voters. On his way out the Town Hall door, Smith said he was going to vote for the Marketplace.

“We need the tax revenues and the tax base. It will be good for the town,” he said.

Smith said Marketplace opponents were not looking at the issues with a clear vision. “They were looking at it short term, not long term,” he said.

Smith wasn’t the only voter in the wrong place Tuesday. In the space of 15 minutes, a Missouri Heights resident and a County Road 100 resident tried to vote at Town Hall but were told only Carbondale residents could vote.

Julie Lewis rode her bike to vote at Town Hall. Lewis, who moved to Carbondale from Basalt in the past year, voted against the Marketplace.

“I moved here because of the small town atmosphere. I’d like to preserve that,” she said. Lewis said that not enough research was conducted to determine the kinds of retailers that will come to Carbondale.

“It’s better to be cautious than sorry,” she said.

Ben Gagnon was another lunchtime Town Hall voter. He marked an “X” next to the “No” on his ballot.

Gagnon said the Marketplace would adversely affect the town’s character, but he also looked at the issue from a regional perspective.

“In the small towns between Glenwood and Aspen, people have always shopped elsewhere,” Gagnon said. “That’s part of the character of those towns. Their stores serve local people. Glenwood has always been the market basket where people shop. I think it should stay that way.”

Kathleen Cassin dashed in and out of Town Hall to vote just before the noon hour ended. “I voted `Yes,'” Cassin said.

“Carbondale needs some kind of growth,” she said. “It should be watched, but we need something in town to bring it back to life.”

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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