I’ve mentioned a few times before how much I love our little mountain town. Lately I’ve had the opportunity to get more involved in the community and work on some pretty interesting projects. One that has been especially worthwhile is the “Fix the Fork” campaign to issue $5 million in bonds that will be used to make improvements to the Roaring Fork River that runs through downtown Basalt. This project will have a significant positive impact on the economic vitality and revitalization of our community, however, initially there was a lot of misinformation and negative publicity that caused citizens to be really divided on the issue.
A group of dedicated citizens came together to form a grassroots organization called Friends of the Fork with the goal of getting the bond issue passed. This group immediately recognized that in order to win the election we needed a clear and consistent message. I was brought in to develop the brand and communications strategy for the campaign.
Working together with the Friends of the Fork task force, I developed a variety of marketing materials to spread our message to voters. Before long, the entire town of Basalt was plastered with our signs and fact sheets. A number of ads and letters to the editor ran in the Aspen Times. We even had several interviews air on Aspen Public Radio.
I also launched a Facebook page for Friends of the Fork which proved to be an effective way to engage voters and other community organizations. Juicy new content was added almost daily and, according to the analytics, our posts reached hundreds of people each week. Little by little, voters began to take notice.
And the strategy worked.
I’m extremely happy to report that the campaign was a success! On November 5th, voters approved the ballot question by a margin of about 65 percent to 35 percent, allowing the Town of Basalt to begin flood mitigation work on the river and build a beautiful new riverfront park in downtown. Construction is already underway!
I learned a lot working on this campaign. Most importantly, though, I experienced how passionate, dedicated people can come together with a clear vision and consistent message to inspire an entire community. That’s the political process at its finest!