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Basalt launches community participation projects

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With an eye on the future, Town Council appointed council member Glenn Drummond as the official representative on the soon-to-be-launched Community Vision and Strategy Project Vista (Vista) under the Eagle County Stewardship Team. 

Drummond is also a volunteer member of the Parks, Open Space and Trails committee.

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Under the Vista umbrella, Eagle County invited community members to help identify solutions to challenges created by COVID-19 and to design a future for Eagle County with health, equity, and resilience in mind. 

Angelo Fernandez, Eagle County deputy manager, presented the project in detail and encouraged Basalt to join the effort. Its goals are enhancing public participation to develop Eagle County’s Comprehensive Plan, Strategic Plan, and other community policies, programs, and initiatives addressing issues like housing and transportation.

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Fernandez described Eagle County’s Comprehensive Plan as a blueprint for growth including land use policies, capital investments, and other plans.

“We want to bring in the people in the community who understand and have a good idea of what we face,” Fernandez explained, adding that the team is also looking to involve community builders — including nonprofit organizations, local agency partners like Basalt and other voices that have been left out to help build a vision and strategies for the future.

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Mayor Bill Kane said, “This process will let us touch Eagle County in an up-close and personal

Manner.” He noted two of the biggest issues are development of the Highway 82 corridor and open space concerns.   

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Fernandez agreed that it’s a community dialogue about where the county is, which way to go, and how to get there.

Each of the Basalt Strategic Focus Areas touch on this effort. In particular, it is stated that the town values local citizens and represents their interests for the benefit of the entire community.

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Council also appointed three new members to the Basalt Green Team, charged with combating climate change. Greg Smith, Pranav Lakhina, and Martin Bonzi were each appointed to serve for two-year terms. Smith explained that he wanted to join because of concern for “the negative impact of humanity’s spread and consumption on nature, the nature of our planet and on humanity itself.” He continued, “My concerns have been inflamed over recent years, but especially this year as a severe drought throughout the west has led to extreme fires due to climate change.”

The Green Team was established in 2007 to advocate for a more resilient and sustainable community. Monthly meetings are well-attended by community partners and supporters, such as Holy Cross Energy and CORE, who help to advance the Town’s sustainability goals.

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The team sponsors projects throughout Basalt that promote waste reduction, improve energy efficiency, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and promote sustainability.

At the January 2021 Green Team meeting, members discussed a grant program to provide compostable take-out supplies to restaurants. The grant also talks about education and outreach programs like the EverGreen Zero Waste public composting program

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At the July 2020 meeting, the team had brainstormed potential projects for 2021, including to increase public education on topics like waste and energy saving measures. Also discussed were opportunities to work with the local schools, and researching how e-bikes are being used locally for commuting and recreation. Holy Cross is currently providing a rebate to e-bike purchasers if used for commuting and replacing vehicle miles traveled. 

The recently completed sales tax report shows an uptick in revenues. The report for January 2021 shows a 16.3 percent increase in sales tax compared to December 2020. The largest category increase was in the building sector with an 155 percent increase due to the boost in construction.

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Tags: #Angelo Fernandez #Basalt Buzz #Bill Kane #Glenn Drummond #Town Council
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