At the end of the month, we’ll have a chance to stand up for Carbondale and save ourselves from the financial burden of paying for a development that isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
The proposed development known as Village at Crystal River (VCR) would require citizens to pay $5 million to cover costs of the highway improvements necessary for the approval of its construction. Building another mall-type development across the street won’t magically make the recession go away, nor will it be the giant cash-machine its proponents have promised. The market is already flooded with for sale and foreclosure homes, and plenty of commercial space for sale or rent.
Proponents argue that the development would bring more retail dollars into town. VCR might generate sales tax for the town, but at whose expense? The developer predicts $40 million in taxable sales to be generated each year at VCR. All of Carbondale currently does about $80 million in sales per year. Even if the new shopping center attracted some new shoppers, where is all that extra cash coming from? Existing businesses and Main Street would take a hit. Residents and new shoppers could still spend money in town at new businesses that opened up in any of the vacant commercial space currently sitting around.
The development also includes a pad for a fast-food restaurant with a drive-through projected to generate around $2.5 million each year. Carbondale generates around $10 million a year in food and drink sales – again, that’s money that could be supporting Main Street and existing businesses.
We pride ourselves on our town’s character, and Carbondale stands out as a unique town here in the valley. In 2010, Carbondale was listed as one of the best towns to live in by Outside magazine, with our surrounding beauty, recreational opportunities and our small-town character. It wasn’t because of shiny new buildings, roundabouts, fast-food restaurants and Front-Range style mall developments.
Attempting to turn our town into a shopping destination will only wash out our unique character. Let’s keep it one of the best towns to live in: vote No on VCR!
The one thing that is fundamentally wrong about the Village at Crystal River marketplace slated for the open space on the Highway 133 entrance to Carbondale that has yet to be addressed sufficiently by its promoters is that it does not fit the character of this small town.
People come to Carbondale to enjoy the art, the fabulous downtown hospitality, the Third Street Center, our great restaurants and much more. Our downtown is thriving. Just look at the traffic that goes through there on a daily basis.
VCR proponents claim that Carbondale needs the money. I say to them, “Yes, we need the money, but we need character more.” It’s what makes Carbondale, Carbondale.
Throwing into the mix a strip mall that every other town has will make us just like them. Help keep Carbondale’s character and vote no on the proposal at the end of this month.
Endorsing Kokish’s views on column
Thanks to Ron Kokish for his letter regarding Ross Talbott’s Dec. 27 column and for pointing out that the Post Independent should be ashamed for allowing it. All I have to say is “Ditto” to everything Mr. Kokish said.
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