Aspen City Council takes in feedback from Entrance to Aspen outreach
Monday evening, the Aspen City Council listened to feedback from the community outreach effort for The New Castle Creek Bridge project and signaled an end to this phase, though the city will remain available to meet with groups and individuals.
More than two dozen people came to the non-voting work session to listen in on a two-hour presentation with questions from the council and mayor.
An overarching goal of the outreach was to try to make sure no groups or other parts of the community were missed.
“I didn’t hear if there were any groups that were missed during this process that need to be included in the upcoming awareness, except for the one emphasis on the IMS (database) and making sure that that is part of the discussions,” said Mayor Torre.
When the council was asked how much community outreach volume they wanted to see, Torre replied, “You know this council has always supported as much interaction and communication outreach as we can. So I would think that when we do get to a next phase that we will be looking for as much robust interaction as possible.”
Next steps include an investigative study that would include a project leadership team, technical team and issue task force.
Assistant City Manager Diane Foster summarized the following themes from their community awareness outreach:
Individuals whose property would be directly impacted by a new Castle Creek Bridge were, understandably, not in favor of the project.
The majority of those with whom the city met felt it was time for a new bridge. Within this group, there were varying opinions about elements of the Preferred Alternative and the best path forward, as well as an expressed desire to be part of the decision-making process, and numerous questions and concerns voiced.
Some individuals wanted to revisit one or more of the 43 alternatives that were not chosen. Others thought the Preferred Alternative was just right.
Although the project team did not solicit specific feedback during the awareness campaign, many participants offered thoughts and asked questions.
The next phase of the project will focus on answering the questions and concerns raised by the community, partners and the City Council during the work session.
Overall concerns included observations that the Preferred Alternative would not solve congestion, the new entrance will change the experience of entering Aspen, there will be disruption of open space, impact on nearby properties, concerns about Cemetery Lane access to schools and hospitals, and that it’s too late to give input on the plan.
Some of the questions people raised during the awareness sessions:
When would the vote for the next stage of The New Castle Creek Bridge happen, what would the vote be about, why does there even have to be a vote, and who gets to vote?
How much would the proposed plan cost and who would pay for the project?
What would detailed plans and design look like? Where would the pedestrian paths and winter trails be located?
How would people access the Holden-Marolt Museum? Would the 8th Street bus stop move? What would the intersection at 7th Street be like? Could there be more than one land bridge?
Would the plan decrease vehicle travel times into town? If not, would there be a plan to address traffic?
How would the new entrance redefine the small-town character of Aspen?
What properties would be impacted? What properties would need to be acquired? Is this consideration included in the project cost? What’s the process for acquiring property?
For questions about the project, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit castlecreekbridge.com.
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