Keeping the faith in Basalt


Last Wednesday was an inspiring day to be a Basaltine.

It started with news of Basalt Town Council’s unanimous decision to address the concerns raised by Pan and Fork residents who had spoken passionately about their desire to remain in Basalt.

It’s a big deal to admit that despite your best efforts, you have missed the mark. We are so proud of all of you for making the decision to “try again,” and do better by hardworking families who are an integral part of our community’s fabric. We are eager to hear what you have in mind. And please let us know how we can help.

Our day ended with a meeting hosted by the group “Workers for Justice and Diversity in Basalt,” a group of Pan and Fork mobile home park residents who are asking the town to help them find similarly priced replacement housing within the town of Basalt.

At this meeting, allies from different sectors of our community listened, as resident after resident, both adults and children, spoke from their hearts about how much they love Basalt. And how stressful it is to anticipate leaving a place filled with both friends and access to Basalt’s top-notch school system, with its excellent bilingual programming. While the stories were heart-breaking, we left the meeting feeling inspired by:

• The Basalt school administrators who had helped organize the meeting in order to better understand and address the needs of Pan and Fork children during this stressful time.

• Pan and Fork parents who are so very committed to their children’s well-being and education.

• The children who had the courage to stand up and tell their stories in front of a group of nearly 100 adults.

• All of the meeting participants — Anglo and Latino — Pan and Fork residents and their allies, coming together across language and cultural lines to see if together we can chart a more just course.

This feeling of inspiration stands in sharp contrast to the uneasiness we have felt over the past several months. As a town, we are poised to lose some of our longest standing, hardest working residents, as well as one of our oldest neighborhoods. And with the people and their neighborhood, an important piece of the cultural and economic diversity that we cherish. And all with seemingly little community concern, let alone outcry.

Back in November, we were particularly dismayed that our community was more motivated to focus on solutions for the land beneath the mobile home park and the river flowing past it than the people who called the neighborhood home.

We know there is no easy solution to this situation. Some of the most intelligent, caring and capable folks in the valley have been at this for many years.

But we don’t want to settle. And clearly we are in excellent company: the entire Basalt Town Council, many Pan and Fork residents, the broad range of allies who attended the meeting and you?

We hope you will be inspired to join us in exploring a more compassionate future for Basalt and all of its residents.

Julie and Jon Fox-Rubin