Area elected officials agree that Brush Creek is the spot for a big parking lot |

Area elected officials agree that Brush Creek is the spot for a big parking lot

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Brush Creek park-and-ride lot needs to be expanded, to the tune of about $2.2 million, to handle 1,000 vehicles during special events, upper-valley government officials agreed Thursday.

Elected officials from Aspen, Snowmass Village and Pitkin County didn’t formally approve any expenditures, but generally endorsed expansion of the existing 200-space lot in order to get special-event parking off of the city’s nearby Cozy Point Ranch.

The $2.2 million is for a gravel surface, drainage work and improvements to the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road, which provides access to the park-and-ride lot.

The city has long wanted to stop using Cozy Point as a parking lot during events like the Winter X Games and the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival. The nearby Brush Creek Village subdivision doesn’t like the parking use, either. In addition, the state has hinted it doesn’t want to keep approving temporary access from the highway to the Cozy Point field.

Finally, a new land deal between the city and the Aspen Valley Land Trust limits use of Cozy Point to three events per year.

Snowmass Mayor T. Michael Manchester quizzed the Aspen contingent on the possibility of amending that agreement.

“Our credibility would hit zero if we did that,” said Mayor Helen Klanderud, rejecting the idea.

Last night, officials looked at a plan that could add 200 more spaces to the park-and-ride lot and 628 spaces on the Aspen Mass property across the highway from Cozy Point, owned jointly by Aspen and Pitkin County. That would provide spaces for about 1,000 cars at a cost of $1.9 million.

“Why is it that for four days of one event and four days of another, we are potentially spending a million-and-a-half dollars?” said County Commissioner Jack Hatfield. “Why is it that we cannot use Cozy Point for eight days?”

“It’s your Brush Creek constituents that don’t want it,” Klanderud responded.

Hatfield offered to explain the situation to the subdivision homeowners, but the elected officials agreed a long-term solution that offers parking for more than three events a year is wise.

“As much as the figures may scare us, we need to look to the long term,” said Aspen Councilwoman Rachel Richards. “We may have other events that can’t go forward because we haven’t solved this parking problem.”

More park-and-ride spaces for commuters may also be needed if a new base development is built in Snowmass, she added.

Even 1,000 spaces at the park-and-ride lot may not solve all of the upper valley’s parking needs. Some 1,400 cars were parked at Cozy Point on Saturday during the X Games last winter.

For 2004, officials agreed event parking would have to go to Cozy Point again.

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