Hefty price for Basalt’s greenway project | AspenTimes.com
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Hefty price for Basalt’s greenway project

Scott CondonAspen, CO Colorado

BASALT Basalt leaders looked at what was labeled a costly but spectacular proposal Tuesday night to convert Two Rivers Road from a busy vehicular route into a mellow greenway along the Roaring Fork River.Town Council members unanimously credited the plan for taking advantage of the stunning beauty of the corridor from the library downvalley to the intersection of Two Rivers Road and Highway 82. The Two Rivers Greenway Master Plan would add bicycle lanes, river access points, a park and scenic overlooks along a two-mile stretch. The lanes for vehicles would be narrowed and speeds would be lowered to make it more inviting to pedestrians and cyclists.Mayor Leroy Duroux said the proposal was “exactly what the town envisioned” when it purchased Old Highway 82 from the Colorado Department of Transportation in 2003.Town consultant Robert Searns, from a firm called Greenway Team, said the plan would create “a legacy for the town.”But it would come at a hefty price. The plan would cost $39.5 million if implemented as proposed over the next 13 or so years, according to the report by the consultants. That price was adjusted for inflation over that period.Nevertheless, it is a chunk of change Basalt officials acknowledged they would have trouble raising, regardless of the merits of the plan.Searns urged the council not to let the numbers “intimidate” them. The important point, he said, it to have a plan in place so funds can be allocated as they become available, such as through grants from Great Outdoors Colorado. Once upon a time, he said, Silverthorne came up with a plan for its Blue River project that seemed too expensive. But bit by bit, the Summit County town is tackling it.”We’re not scared of the numbers. It’s more (like) ‘Where are they going to come from?'” said Basalt Councilman Gary Tennenbaum.He said he supported everything outlined in the plan. However, he felt it might need to be broken down into even smaller, more achievable phases.”How much basis with reality do we want this plan to be?” Tennenbaum asked.The first phase of the plan calls for construction of a 10-foot wide paved trail and bicycle lanes from Midland Avenue to Homestead Drive. The recycle center would also get spruced up. That 2008 project would cost $6.4 million at 2008 prices, the consultants estimated.A second phase in 2010 would add bicycle lanes to Two Rivers Road from Homestead Drive to Highway 82 and improve fishing access points. It would cost $5.9 million.A third phase in 2013 would feature creation of a new park along the river. The Aspen Junction park-and-ride would be better organized and a trailhead created. A bus stop there would be moved to Highway 82. The cost would be $10.5 million.The fourth phase would provide the option of adding a pedestrian bridge across Highway 82 and connecting to a different trail network on the opposite side of the river. The cost would be $2.5 million for the 2015 project.The final phase in 2020 would add a trail, ease rock fall risk at Emma curve and create a Mt. Sopris overlook. The cost would be $14.2 million.Town manager Bill Efting said that the first phase alone might have to be divided into mini-phases.”When I looked at the 2008 dollar figures I about fell out of my chair,” Efting said. “It ain’t going to happen, folks.”The council approved the master plan with the phasing approach proposed. Realistically, they agreed, smaller chunks will be pursued when possible.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com.


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