350 Roaring Fork
“Picture a bright blue ball just spinning, spinning free. It’s dizzy with possibilities…” – Bob Weir and John Barlow
Some of us gather on Friday mornings at 8 a.m. to remember our personal connection to the planet and its future. We remind some others as well by carrying signs along 133 and 82. We support the work of 350 Colorado Roaring Fork Valley. And we invite all to join us.
Meet outside La Fogata (995 Cowen Drive, Carbondale) at 8 a.m. on Friday mornings. For an hour each week, let’s try to be the change we seek in the world.
Carbondale trustees are sending a request for a new aquatic center to voters this coming April. Also on the ballot will be the mayoral and three trustee seats.
The aquatic center, a euphemism for “fancy swimming pool,” will be financed by the issuance of $8 million in bonds, which will be paid for by extending the half cent sales tax that paid for our state-of-the-art rec center built about 15 years ago.
An aquatic center sure seems like a luxury and not a necessity at this time. This is especially true if the voters view this in the context of the substantial and critical capital outlays coming in the very near future.
Assuming we put our money where our mouth is, these include providing workforce housing for our policemen, firemen, town employees, teachers and worker bees. The current policy of uncontrolled growth, and the ratio of building residential which is 20% affordable and 80% free market, is creating more problems than it is solving.
Also on the front burner should be the implementation of our Climate Action Plan. There is an important deadline in 2030 which needs to be prioritized. Required will be the retrofit of most existing buildings, both commercial and residential.
Glenwood Springs is having to spend $10,000,000 for water delivery improvements due to the Grizzly Creek Fire. This was not expected, and we should be planning for the unexpected as well with climate change effects seemingly on a steroidal feedback loop.
To retrofit the buildings in town to net zero would probably cost about $20 million — that is what I call a SWAG (sophisticated wild ass guess) based on the bonding done by Ithaca, New York, for $100 million for 30,000 residents. This is a property tax issue. Hopefully we can get a match as well.
For comparison’s sake in the Valley, Basalt just approved a $18,000,000 bond issue to makeover Midland Avenue, prioritize the creation of workforce housing and provide for “green” projects including solar development with battery storage and vehicle charging stations.
Carbondale needs at least $10 million to make a dent in our workforce housing shortage (based on the Basalt bond above). My recommendation would be rededicating the half cent sales tax from the pool to our workforce housing needs.
Carbondale just raised property taxes on residents to increase teacher salaries, a worthy and admirable undertaking. Now we are asking the taxpayers to continue a half cent sales tax for an aquatic center? There is a great facility we can access in Glenwood Springs, and I swam in lakes and rivers when I was growing up.
Carbondale needs to inform the public that we have some other big ticket money items coming. I cannot in good conscience support a new swimming pool when workforce housing and climate change resilience need to be on the proverbial front burner.
The wild clematis
Now dusty silver, still clings
To fences and trees.
Time of your life
Time is relentless
But memories are timeless
Make more memories