Sigh… John, you are one of the people from whom we have spent years defending Carbondale.
You have lived here one year, and so very quickly are ready to show us locals how it is done in the big world. I wish I could create a parallel universe for you (and everybody else who recently moved here and wants to fix things) to see the battles we have engaged in to help maintain the bit of the spark of Carbondale that remains.
I am also a recent local; I moved to Carbondale in 1974. Since that time I am unable to list the number of plans that folks had for Carbondale and how many of their messes we spent years cleaning up. “Once burned, twice shy” — how about 20 times burned, infinitely shy? We trusted and, even with due diligence and contracts and monies in escrow… well, it has often been a problem. I am not even going to start on the Marketplace; it was voted down multiple times by the voting population of Carbondale for excellent reasons.
“In speaking with some business leaders I learned that the only real foot traffic comes with the cattle drives through town.”
Really, try a couple of First Fridays or any weekend day or evening — lots of folks supporting local venues. Let’s also assess the types of businesses folks open hoping to lure the Aspen spenders into Carbondale every day of the week.
Well, so now the downtown blocks are owned by about three people. Many businesses are unable to maintain rising rents — there’s a project for you. It sounds like you have a background in this, lets seriously use your expertise to help the businesses we have stay here.
Many of the events you listed as being funded by tax revenues are not. They are supported by town taxes, but the initial goal has been to create self-supporting events and events that benefited our many nonprofits and community-supported ventures. So, I have a homework assignment for you: volunteer on the board that piques your interest, attend one town meeting a month, and volunteer at an event. Come work traffic with me at Mountain Fair and we will talk for hours! And for the next year promise to listen in the stores and parks and restaurants around town and help us deflect the newcomers starting sentences with “This was a great town when I moved here” — otherwise known as the Mating Call of the Responsible SnowFlake.
“If we only had ______ (business) (usually a chain) here this would be a great town” — Call of the Soon To Move On.
I am sorry if it seems that we are a distrustful bunch but it comes with a history. Don’t feel badly, it was already in place when I got here. I questioned it, made noises about naive rural locals (I think there were about 700 of us then) and stayed to learn and understand. I understand that the reason Carbondale is the town it is, is because it is constantly being defended from outside influence and those new to town.
So, I’m confused. Why do y’all move here because of Carbondale’s size, beauty, and people and then set out almost immediately to create whatever it was you left behind and start to plan growth and change?
Carbondale (on sabbatical in Newport, OR)