Tuesday, November 20, 2018
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We’re on the road to…

Up in Mt. Crested Butte there will soon be a new elevator to nowhere to attract the tourists. An elevator and staircase is what will be left from the old Club Med theater that is being demolished this week. Maybe it could be tagged Mt. Crested Butte’s stairway to heaven. After all, when I think heaven, like just about everyone, I think Mt. Crested Butte mayor Billy Buck, patron saint of the backcountry.
Meanwhile, downtown in Crested Butte they have a new bus pullout to nowhere to accommodate the overflow of tourists we are experiencing. I guess technically, it goes somewhere (by the skate park and ice rink) but there won’t be a regular bus pulling in there since the council isn’t going to move the Mountain Express route off of Whiterock Avenue. That pullout to nowhere was built as part of the Big Mine Park improvements this summer. You can never accuse Crested Butte of pulling out too late when they are building pullouts all over town that won’t be used.
We could have some fun with both of these items but this is a serious place in a serious time. Or so I’m gathering as I walk around town.
It’s the election season with a commissioner’s seat of paramount consequence in the balance. Armageddon could result (as some people assert with this and every election) if the wrong guy gets elected. Snodgrass is still in limbo (as it has been for decades) but discussion about its future continues its magic ability to divide frenemies within the community. And, as it has for decades, the mine looms over us in doom with every waking breath. This is a serious place.

So seriously, let’s shine the light on something really positive that will lead to somewhere good. It’s not a stairway or a pullout to nowhere. It’s a land trade to the future.
Let’s give a pat on the back to longtime locals Butch and Judy Clark. They are essentially donating an 850-acre “in-holding” in the middle of the National Forest by the Fossil Ridge Wilderness study area to the Trust for Public Lands.
The TPL and the new Gunnison Valley Housing Foundation hope to facilitate affordable housing with the donation. While that obviously isn’t the place to locate the actual housing, the intent is to trade the parcel in the future with the Forest Service or BLM for land closer to a municipality that will be used for affordable housing. An official donation ceremony will be held next Monday morning at the rodeo grounds. While I’m no appraiser, that donation will be worth millions of dollars in the end for families hoping to live in this paradise. Oh, and the 850-acre in-holding will ultimately remain open forever for the use of you and me.
So the Clarks have a vision—a good vision to help with the future of this county. And they have the heart to step up and find a unique way to make that vision happen.
Thank you.
 I wonder if Tom Chapman, the developer who looks for in-holdings to make major money on land swaps, would do that?
Nahhhh. For him, that would probably be as crazy as having an elevator to nowhere and trading it for a newly built bus pullout that won’t be used.

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