Carbondale coughs up another $60K for Crystal Trail
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE ” Carbondale trustees agreed this week to put another $60,000 toward the town’s portion of the Crystal Valley Bike Trail project from the south end of town to Prince Creek.
Pitkin County Open Space and Trails received a $2.5 million bid from Heyl Construction of New Castle for the larger project to build a 5.3-mile-long paved trail along Highway 133 from Carbondale to the BRB campground. The bid included $196,122 for the section from Meadowood Drive to Prince Creek.
The town budgeted $137,000 from its recreation sales tax fund for that section, leaving a $60,000 shortfall. So, in order to tie the final piece of the funding puzzle together and move the project forward, trustees were asked to come up with the extra cash.
Trustees voted 5-0 in favor of the funding at their Tuesday meeting, although Trustee John Foulkrod expressed frustration that the town under-budgeted the cost.
“At what point do you say uncle?” he said. “Sure, it’s just another $60,000 … but we need to do better on our earmarks in the budget.”
Town Manager Tom Baker said the extra trail funding will be absorbed by the fact that the town elected last week not to spend $30,000 for the purchase of equipment for a proposed gymnastics program at the Third Street Center that did not pan out. Also easing things is the fact that revenues from the town’s recreation center are ahead of budget projections, he said.
Last week, the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails board recommended that the county commissioners appropriate the necessary funds to build the trail. Commissioners are expected to take up the expenditure Tuesday.
Additionally, Garfield County is in for $200,000, and a $50,000 gift from the Jelinek family will also go toward the Garfield County portion of the project. Pitkin County will use Open Space and Trails funds for its share.
Officials hope the trail will one day stretch from Carbondale to the top of McClure Pass, and eventually all the way to Crested Butte.
The project still requires final approval of a permit from the Colorado Department of Transportation, as much of the trail will be built in the Highway 133 right of way.
Construction is expected to start by mid-June and wrap up in late fall, according to Dale Will, director of the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Program.
In addition to the Meadowood-to-Prince Creek segment, Carbondale is also planning a trail link between Snowmass and Meadowood drives.
The town has obtained two federal “Safe Routes to School” grants worth nearly $198,000 for that stretch.
The United States Departments of Education and Health and Human Services will begin sending free Covid tests to schools, which the Aspen School District will take advantage of when their current stock runs low.