Carbondale Market aka Willits 2.0? – The Sun of Sopris

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Opinion of Frosty Merriott

For two decades and through two public referendums, many of us in Carbondale – think town mothers or just citizen activists – have struggled and worked, marched and united for development along Route 133 be well done. We just wanted the right development, anchored by a market in the town of Kroger. This was not just because of the city’s reliance on sales tax revenue, but also something that would maintain, at all costs and in all cases, THE LITTLE TOWN CHARACTER.

This is because the “small town character” is mentioned eight times in our current summary of the overall plan. That’s why we all live here. And, oops, it looks like we failed.

The previous board I sat on did it admirably well. That is, until Kroger, aka City Market, meets with Garfield County Commissioners. Their clear intention was to make a deal to place their new “Mountain Community Flagship Store” off Cattle Creek off Highway 82.

It’s midway between Glenwood Springs and unincorporated Garfield County (i.e. no zoning), a massive new residential development that stretches across the valley floor and no taxes for Carbondale. We all felt compelled to buy into Kroger’s rhetoric. It was a proverbial hook, line and sinker. We really felt we had no choice and got the best deal we could. And hell, sales tax revenue is now up 30%.

Meanwhile, a gas station dazzling bomb appeared in the night sky. It looks as much like the render we saw as administrators that the party lights look like the Milky Way. The promise of City Market’s flagship mountain community grocery store seemed too good to be true. Why? Because it was!

There’s an age-old business philosophy that dictates: Watch how a business does the little things. Do they pay attention to details? If they do the little things conscientiously, they will also do the big things right.

One example, City Market still has the lease of its old space with its Denver owner. They have left all the lights on 24 hours a day since they moved out a year ago. This shows the waste of precious energy and unnecessary polluting our night skies, violating the spirit of our Environmental Bill of Rights and City Lighting Ordinances. Why? Well, they do it because they can. It is unimportant to them.

So, it seems that they are not able to do the little things right.

The grand opening of our “Mountain Environmental Community Flagship Store” last August looked like one of Denver’s large used car parks on Colfax Avenue. Hundreds of red, white and blue flags fluttering in the wind. This, in the midst of the sea of ​​rippling heat that emanates from the cool black asphalt. Please tell me it was just a bad dream.

Inside, I was shocked and dismayed by the thousands of single-use plastic bottles destined for the bellies of our local wildlife, landfills or our oceans. City Market pledged to be plastic-free in two years. It was almost two years ago. It won’t happen, I can’t do the little things. This store screams corporate greed and broken promises.

Guess we’re just waiting for the next big shoe to drop. Oh, that’s right, it happened last December with the arrest of Michael Francisco. It’s been eight months and no one in our small town community store has joined the conversations, let alone sincerely apologized, for their part in this obvious misunderstanding. Why? Because Kroger cares about nothing but getting the most out of this little mountain town.

I would ask our admins to call a working session with Kroger executives, including their sustainability director, and let’s see what was done right, what was wrong and how we bring this store into line with our Environmental Bill of Rights and our climate action plan. We don’t really need or want a Willits 2.0 in Carbondale, do we?


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