LETTER: Slow down, Basalt, you’re moving too fast!
Unfortunately, the residents of one of Basalt’s oldest neighborhoods (the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park) have become the victims of circumstance.
The town of Basalt has embarked on an ambitious effort to redevelop downtown and to save the park’s residents from the possibility of future flooding — by relocating them out of harms way; however, the speed of this effort is creating undue stress on these residents and our community. This kind of stress is similar to that which is caused by natural disasters that destroy entire neighborhoods. This can have an adverse effect on public safety when school-age children have to change schools, when extended families have to live separately and far apart, and when parents’ commutes grow too large.
Although the town of Basalt is acting with good intentions and is striving for fairness, it’s simply moving too fast for the residents and their allies to find a better solution. I believe the town is making a mistake by paying them to leave their homes and destroying the park before a viable solution emerges — one that gives the residents an affordable option to stay in Basalt.
I’d like to urge Basalt’s elected officials to put the brakes on its self-imposed deadline (e.g., by seeking an extension of the Army Corps 404 permit), to invest its remaining funds into the creation of an affordable neighborhood, and only then vacate the Pan and Fork mobile home park.
In the meantime, I’m confident our emergency personnel have the procedures, resources and skills needed to protect these and other residents in the event of flooding.
Keith Ikeda, former Basalt Police Chief
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