By Megalodon Toothless
The Midvalley Moon

In a surprise move, the Town of Basalt has successfully annexed Carobondale.

Basalt Town Manager Ryan Mahoney described the move as “a long time coming,” adding that town officials have long resented Carbondale’s claim on the 81623 zip code that permeates the El Jebel area.

“It just makes sense,” Mahoney said of the annexation. “Basalt is the heart of the Roaring Fork Valley™ — now that Carbondale has been making headlines in Forbes and Bloomberg, it’s time for it to come into the fold.”

Jay Harrington, the former Carbondale Town Manager, is still reeling.

“This is Orchard Plaza on steroids,” he said in a nod to Basalt’s 1995 annexation of the City Market. “I guess we’re all just unemployed now. I’m not working for The Empire,” he added with chagrin.  

But Basalt City Council agreed unanimously that the town’s expansion to incorporate Carbondale would be a good move for everyone.

“This increases our sales tax base by almost 100 percent,” Basalt Councilman Gary Tennenbaum said. “And The Arts Campus at Willits is thrilled. Maybe there’s a merger opportunity with Carbondale Arts or Thunder River Theatre Co.”

Carbondale Arts Executive Director Amy Kimberly snorted from laughing so hard at the prospect.

“I adore everything TACAW does, but it’s not happening,” she said with a sudden straight face. “We have worked doggedly to make Carbondale a recognized creative district with the state. Carbondale has its own identity — like, what’s going to happen to Mountain Fair?”

Mahoney isn’t letting local grumblings dampen his mood.

“You can’t make everyone happy all the time,” he said. “Just look at the Whole Foods. People clamored for that Whole Foods for a decade, then Willits was finally hip enough for one, and now people complain about it!”

He added that Carbondale is “finally hip enough” for Basalt.

“Now, it’s part of Basalt,” he quipped.

Tim Belinski, a board member at the Basalt Chamber of Commerce who oversees development at Willits, is focused on branding the annexation.

“Just like Willits has its own brand, I think Carbondale should, too,” he said. At first, he thought a Carbondale-based marketing firm would be the right fit for the job. He went on to admit, however, that he’s struggled to find a local agency that would take the project on.

“We went to Footsteps Marketing about it, but [CEO] Sydney [Schalit] wouldn’t touch it,” he said. “She went on and on about how they’d worked so hard to reinvest in Carbondale. Honestly, we just didn’t share the same vision.”

The Chamber is planning to release a request for proposal from local agencies willing to rebrand and market “the new Carbondale” later this month, Belinski said. “Hopefully, our next marketing partner will do more than just chalk this whole thing up to an April Fool’s hoax — even if that’s what it is.”