County looks at Redstone open space purchase
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
ASPEN – Open space officials in Pitkin County are contemplating the purchase of a lot in Redstone for $225,000.
The Open Space and Trails board of trustees is slated to take up the acquisition when it meets at 9 a.m. Thursday in the county’s Plaza One meeting room in Aspen.
The 0.67-acre parcel is, during the summer, part of a grassy expanse behind the Redstone Country Store that slopes down to the Crystal River opposite Elk Park, another open space holding.
Its purchase will provide access to the Crystal River next to the southernmost entrance to Redstone, preserve views of the historic coke ovens along Highway 133 from the south end of Redstone Boulevard and preserve views of the historic Redstone Inn from Elk Park, noted Dale Will, Open Space and Trails director.
“Really, we’re just trying to kind of protect the entrance to Redstone,” he said.
The one-time coal-mining town south of Carbondale boasts an historic district along Redstone Boulevard, where a number of historic buildings now hold quaint shops.
The Open Space and Trails program is currently at work on plans for Elk Park, located between the river and the highway, where an information center is planned. Already, there is parking off the highway and a pedestrian bridge linking Elk Park to Redstone Boulevard.
Elk Park and the proposed open space would become a contiguous piece of property, though they’d be separated by the river.
Owner Bob McCormick, seeking to sell the lot behind the store, approached open space officials to see if there was interest in buying the parcel, according to Will.
“It just didn’t seem like it would be a good place for a new building in Redstone,” Will said. “We decided essentially to expand Elk Park with the purchase of that property.”
If the Open Space and Trails board votes to recommend the purchase, county commissioners must also approve the use of open space funds for the acquisition.
The parcel would not be the first transaction involving the open space program and McCormick, Will noted. The program also purchased property containing the historic Redstone powerhouse from McCormick, as well as two of the seven Sawmill Hill sites located on the hillside above the Redstone Inn, another historic structure.
The powerhouse was once a small hydroelectric plant on the bank of the Crystal River; the county hopes to save it, though the building is currently in a state of partial collapse. Sawmill Hill at one time contained seven subdivided lots on the prominent hillside above the Inn. The hill contains some giant Ponderosa pines that are an estimated 400 years old, according to Will.
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The more the incidence rate of COVID-19 cases lowers in Pitkin County, the faster businesses will be able participate in a state program that eases public health restrictions.