Marketplace not the right fit for Carbondale |

Marketplace not the right fit for Carbondale

Supporters and opponents of the proposed Crystal River Marketplace in Carbondale actually have something in common. Passion. And plenty of it.

The heated debate over the planned 252,000-square-foot retail development on a 24-acre parcel of land at the corner of Highway 133 and Main Street is nearing closure. Registered voters in Carbondale will decide on Tuesday if the big-box project will move ahead as planned or if developer Brian Huster will need to go back to the drawing board.

Although the proposed retail center would generate much-needed sales tax revenues for Carbondale, provide an opportunity for City Market to move into a larger space and offer smaller new retail outlets, the shoe simply does not fit.

The Crystal River Marketplace, as proposed, should be turned down.

This is not to say Brian Huster should go back to California or the Town Mothers have all the answers to the economic woes of Carbondale. Some of the developer’s concepts are well suited for the town.

Further, Carbondale desperately needs to build its tax base and should be courting, not chasing away, new businesses. All are in agreement Highway 133 will need improvements in the future.

The plan for the Crystal River Marketplace needs to be revised, once again. The land is zoned commercial and will be developed. That’s not a bad thing.

Yet instead of a big box, a pedestrian-friendly center with smaller shops and a grocery store as an anchor may be more appealing to the residents and mesh with the atmosphere of the community. The new retail core in Basalt and the Riverwalk in Edwards are prime examples of a successful blend of shopping, eateries and entertainment, all in an attractive, small-town setting.

There is a middle ground for the divided town. The next step is to find the shoe that fits and stand together.

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