Carbondale buys gateway parcel

Gina Guarascio
Carbondale correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Land near the Highway 133 bridge, purchased by the town of Carbondale, will become part of an envisioned Gateway River Park. (Courtesy Valley Journal)

CARBONDALE ” The town of Carbondale recently purchased about a half-acre on the north side of the Roaring Fork River just upstream of the Highway 133 bridge.

Although the 0.6-acre parcel doesn’t touch the river, it is one piece of the planned Gateway River Park the town envisions near the entrance to town, said Carbondale Public Works Director Larry Ballenger.

The property will also serve a purpose for the Colorado Department of Transportation. The agency will work with the town to eliminate the access to the parcel from Highway 82, said CDOT engineer Pete Mertes, because it’s so close to a busy intersection.

The property was owned by Mary Stecklein, but was more commonly referred to as the Soderberg parcel. The vacant piece of land had been for sale for some time and had very little development potential because of the many prescriptive easements that run through it, and because it is in the flood plain, Ballenger explained.

The town bought the property for $55,000 and will eventually develop it along with the Gateway Park, if other key parcels are acquired.

A long strip of land owned by long-time Carbondale resident Ernie Gianinetti runs between the Soderberg parcel and the river.

According to Ballenger, the Colorado Division of Wildlife secured a perpetual easement for fishing on that strip of property. The Gianinetti property, as well as other private land along the river, are a key component to providing public access to the river and developing any type of park.

Meanwhile, this fall, CDOT will begin a major project at the entrance to Carbondale, off Highway 82, Mertes said.

A major expansion of the Highway 133 bridge over the Roaring Fork River is planned, as well as improvements to the Highway 133/Highway 82 intersection and expansion of Highway 133 from two lanes to four from the bridge to Cowen Drive.

Construction will start this fall and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2008, according to Mertes.

Eventually, the bridge will be twice as wide as it is now, with sidewalks to accommodate pedestrians. The crosswalk across Highway 82 will also be improved, as will the left turn lane into Carbondale that often gets backed up beyond capacity at peak times.


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