Basalt, Colorado


Here is the JKA summary report to date as part of the discovery process that is underway in Basalt. We made a critical decision early to split the Informal from the Formal as a cleaner, clearer process. It was a good call. This report is on the Informal Networks which was JKA's responsibility to find and engage. Paul Andersen, a good facilitator, handled the formal groups. As part of the "bottom up" process we held Chat Sessions in all of the geographic neighborhoods. These were held in peoples homes. The Host family invited their neighbors and friends into their home for a discussion. They are extremely successful as an engagement process. Parallel to that we opened up a Citizen Center right in the middle of pedestrian traffic in downtown. The Center became a gathering place for people to update their information, some daily, and we put people's map renderings on the spacious walls to honor the participants and create a creative cross-over process.

We had over 400 drawings and around 3,000 ideas--about 8 ideas to a drawing. 13 of the architect and design firms weighed in, at their own expense, with incredible thought pieces. I figure that we got about $200,000 of contributed design. The caveat was that they had to come in and look at the citizen drawings and comments and then draw from that orientation. Another home run.

This document reports out the Themes that we found from our citizen engagement. It also provides for picking the Low Hanging Fruit, which has individual citizens continuously engaged in accomplishing these items--. creates stories and story telling about their activity. Finally we list the "Outliers". The actions that were difficult to be incorporated into the Themes in any meaningful way but were creative in their own right. Already a railroad history group has taken on Outlier number 3: "Lounge Chairs on Rollers (railroad) tracks." The idea came from a collage that a citizen did on what they wanted in the town. One of her pictures was from the High Line project in New York City which had lounge chairs on railroad tracks! The historical Basalt group picked up on the idea, commissioned Myers Metals, a local iron works craftsman business to make the chairs and the tracks. I am told that they are almost done and will be placed in our downtown park along side our Denver and Rio Grand Caboose, which serves as our Chamber HQ. The town put up half of the funds for producing the product.

The idea is to keep "everything in motion" while the plans unfold. We do not stop action while a plan is being undertaken. That means for instance that a boutique hotel is one of the major themes that people wanted for downtown. However during the 5 month process, a downtown historic building became available that can be converted to a Riverside Lodge of about 80 rooms oriented to the international traffic the Rocky Mountain Institutes new Innovation Center will bring to Basalt. We estimate both will be done at the same time if they start in September. If that happens and it looks like it will, then we change the plan for building a new hotel, something else folds into that space. "Everything in Motion".

As I mentioned before we are looking at a new form of small town government called Priority Based Governance where the citizens indeed do decide what they want for their town. This is followed by a Form Based Code that is the design space for each building location. What we have done so far is reduce the risk to developers and increase the predictability and reliability of having a town that is designed by the citizens and not by committees or councils or planning groups or stakeholders. Everyone that wants to be "is" in. In one form or another we have fully engaged over 50% of the Basalt population in the last 5 months.

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