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Dear Editor:

The interest and comments on my op-ed have been great! Hearing people’s view so well expressed has rekindled the conversation about Carbondale’s past, present and future. I hope it actively continues for the betterment of us all! My tally so far is that we have a draw on pros and cons.

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That said, I wish to clear up a few points. First and foremost, the opinions expressed in the op-ed were almost entirely a result from over 50 conversations in town with folks living here from 4 to 40 years. My newness to the area does not qualify me to have a real opinion… just yet.

If things have changed in how the town welcomes new and mutually beneficial opportunities that news has not been effectively communicated to the outside world. I’m sure it will be welcome. Also, for the record, I am 100 percent against big box companies and carpetbaggers who would do nothing for our town but try and steal its heritage.

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I am, however, for the establishment of a national art market which leverages on the presence of the world class Powers museum and the existing arts. Such a presence could bring in the art of well-collected national and regional artists providing a focus on the west where we live. Since Carbondale is already quite rich in the arts measurably raising the bar could draw art lovers and buyers from around the country if not also from Aspen and Basalt.

The two additional retail blocks I mentioned in the op-ed would be for bringing in galleries to showcase and sell significant art while also generating sales tax revenue and creating more jobs for Carbondale’s finest. In my short stay here (so far) it is easy to see there is more that can be added to our town’s special offerings. To have the works of internationally acclaimed artist Jasper Johns within a stone’s throw of our Main Street is simply amazing. I am convinced we can build onto this and, in the spirit of establishing and maintaining our soon to be increased art awareness, generate an even more special experience to all within and those visiting Carbondale.

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I remain of the personal view that we, collectively as a town, must insure the vitality and sustainability of our Western Slope treasure. As hard as it might be to accept, this involves the creation of a larger sales tax base. I would kindly suggest that the town extend its open arms to new businesses that bring not only more enjoyment and positive benefit to our citizens and visitors (plus the thousands of folks that live outside of the city limits) but also whose success will contribute to the very long continued specialness that we all know as Carbondale! Long live Carbondale!

John Runne
Carbondale

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