Eagle County sours on mix of dump trucks, playgrounds
November 2, 2006
It appears that Eagle County officials have concluded that dump trucks and playgrounds don’t mix.Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi said he doesn’t support the idea of building a new maintenance shop for the road and bridge department next to the new Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel.”We’re not going to build it over there,” he said. “It’s not going to happen.”The park is expected to be a midvalley jewel when it opens next year. It will feature playing fields for soccer and baseball, courts for tennis and basketball, playgrounds and picnic areas.The county is in desperate need of a shop for working on road equipment. The favored site, as of last spring, was unused land it owns next to the park. The county also owns the park land, which it leases to the Crown Mountain recreation district.County officials said in May at a meeting in El Jebel that there had been no decision about a site. They said they needed to consider the site next to the park because they already own the property. Eliminating land acquisition costs would reduce the cost of the project drastically.Midvalley residents and the recreation district lobbied the county commissioners to find an alternative site away from the park: “I think the biggest problem is potential traffic conflicts,” said Mark Fuller, a consultant with the recreation district.He said heavy equipment using the maintenance facility would have to traverse the length of the park to get to and from the shop. “We just think it would be a bad combination,” Fuller said.Peter Runyon, chairman of the Eagle County commissioners, said county officials heard the concerns and consider them valid. While he isn’t ready to dismiss the site by the park quite yet, he indicated he has problems with it.”If I were a betting man I would not put my money on the Crown Mountain site,” Runyon said.The county staff is assessing a number of sites in the Roaring Fork Valley. The benefits and problems of each, along with associated costs, will be presented to the commissioners later this fall for comparison and a decision, Runyon said.One alternative site under consideration is property north of El Jebowl that the county already leases from the Crawford family for storage of road and bridge equipment and material. That storage yard doesn’t have a permanent structure. Some residents of the nearby Blue Lake subdivision regard it as an eyesore in its current condition.Menconi said the county will likely spend $2 million to $3 million on a new road and bridge facility once it settles on a site.Scott Condon’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.