Basalt plans to complete its long-touted river park in 2022

The $1.6M, second phase will last most of the construction season

The Basalt River Park property along the Roaring Fork River as it looked on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. The property includes public land and open space as well as a private development. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The town of Basalt has budgeted to spend more than $1.6 million this year to complete a long-awaited park along the Roaring Fork River.

The second phase of Basalt River Park will include construction of a band shell, water-misting and play features, and extensive landscaping and sod. In addition, a new bus station with a bathroom will be constructed on Two Rivers Road at the park’s edge.

The work will require most of the 2022 construction season so the park won’t be fully ready for prime time until possibly late in the year, town manager Ryan Mahoney said. He believes the completed park will be a “crown jewel” for the town since it is so close to downtown.

“I think it’s a community gathering place,” Mahoney said. “I think it’s a place where you come celebrate the river.”

The park is located at the town’s main intersection at Midland Avenue and Two Rivers Road, and a portion of it extends downstream. A contractor finished phase one this winter, including final grading and constructing a sitting wall from large boulders.

About $886,000 was spent on that phase.

A sitting wall was constructed on the outer perimeter of what will be the great lawn at Basalt River Park. The lawn is currently covered in straw. Free Range Kitchen, which finished its new building in December, is on the far side of the great lawn. (Scott Condon/The Aspen Times)

In a separate but related project, multiple improvements were made along Two Rivers Road in that vicinity. Intertwined with the public park is private property owned by developers Tim Belinski and Andrew Light. They are forging ahead with construction this winter of Park Place East, a three-unit townhouse building. They also have a foundation permit for another building that includes commercial space, apartments and affordable housing units. The owners of Free Range Kitchen bought land from the developers and completed their new restaurant in December adjacent to what will be known as the “great lawn” in the park.

The private development is on track to be completed this year, Mahoney said.

Basalt struggled for years with its vision for the property. Two roughly equally sized factions duked it out over how much of the former Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park site should be developed and how much should be open space and a park. Belinski and Light crafted a compromise that included selling additional square footage to the town for parkland.


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