In Brief: City begins bridge outreach effort | AspenTimes.com
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In Brief: City begins bridge outreach effort

Staff Report

City begins bridge outreach effort

The city of Aspen’s awareness campaign to get people up to speed on the status of the long-discussed Entrance to Aspen, known as the “New Castle Creek Bridge” conversation, kicked off last week with six events over the course of one week.

Thus far, this initial phase of outreach events reached more than 150 people from the Rotary Club of Aspen, Hunter Creek Homeowners Association, media, and general public through presentations, both online and in person, and a weekend site tour, according to the city.  

During this initial phase of the project, city staff said they will continue to offer community events and small group meetings through the middle of December and again in January, including in-person and virtual open houses, site tours, pop-up events, and small group presentations to neighborhood groups. The next public events are an open house at Aspen City Hall on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and a site tour on Thursday from noon to 2 p.m.



“The initial level of interest we received from the community is positive,” said Assistant City Manager Diane Foster, co-lead of the project. “This project will have a big impact on everyone in our community, including those who live in Aspen, and especially for those that live near the proposed design plan. Our goal is to provide community members with a variety of opportunities to learn more about the history and future of Castle Creek Bridge — at whatever level they would like, and according to their personal interests and schedules.”

“It’s important that our community addresses the need for a new bridge — now,” said Trish Aragon, city engineer engineer and co-lead of the project. “The existing Castle Creek Bridge is 62 years old and was designed to last 75 years — until 2036. And it takes eight to 12 years from planning through construction for a new bridge, which is the reason for restarting the conversation. Ultimately, Aspen voters will be the ones who need to decide how we move forward with addressing the situation.”




More about the project, including the history, a five-minute video, conceptual renderings, and the schedule of upcoming public events, is available at CastleCreekBridge.com.

Kids First program adds child-care providers

The city of Aspen’s Kids First program has announced local partnerships intended to expand child care capacity in the community. Little Steps College at Aspen Colorado Mountain College and Ajax Cubs for Mountain Kids at the Yellow Brick building in Aspen are now accepting families into their programs.

“This is a win-win situation when the city is able to make progress on the City Council’s goal of increasing child-care capacity with finding local talent to step into this space,” said Kids First Co-Manager Megan Monaghan. “We’re excited that months of work and investment behind the scenes has brought these opportunities to the community before the end of the year.”

Last year, the city started the design and renovation of an indoor and outdoor space at the Aspen CMC campus to open an infant child-care business with space for eight children. Simultaneously, Kids First sought a qualified, licensed child-care provider to run the center. Kids First serves as an early childhood resource center supporting quality, affordable childcare choices in Aspen and Pitkin County, city officials said.

Little Steps College at Aspen CMC will open this month under Dana Ruiz. Ruiz was born and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley. She started at Faith Lutheran Child Care Center, where she earned her early childhood teacher qualifications. She has three years of experience and said she is excited about opening her own infant child-care program. 

Little Steps will provide care to infants aged eight weeks through 18 months of age. Based on its contractual agreement, Little Steps will serve Colorado Childcare Assistance Program-funded children, first come, first served. When infant care space is available, priority is given to children of CMC faculty and staff, up to three spaces. Following that, spaces can be filled by the general public, officials said. 

For more information, email littlestepscollege99@gmail.com.

Also opening this winter is Ajax Cubs, offering preschool (ages 3-5), toddler care (ages 18 months to 3 years) and infant care (ages 2-18 months) in the Yellow Brick Building in Aspen. Ajax Cubs was founded by the leadership of Ajax Adventure Camp, a local summer camp focused on outdoor adventure. 

Ajax Cubs staff, including founders Oliver Umpleby and Liz Beckwith, are trained to deliver a blend of traditional early childhood teaching philosophies with outdoor adventure and exploration to create an experience well-suited for Aspen families, city officials said. Interested families can fill out an interest form at ajaxcubs.com/.

For more information on Kid First programs, visit aspen.gov/235/Kids-First.

Short-term tax collections begin with new year in Carbondale

On Nov. 8, voters of Carbondale passed Ballot Issue 2A to impose a tax of 6% of the gross rental price paid by customers of short-term rental accommodations, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2023.

This is inclusive of any service charges or fees.The proceeds of the short-term rental tax will be used to fund affordable and attainable housing.

Owners of short-term rental properties in Carbondale will be required to submit payment to the town through the Town’s current software system, called MuniRevs, due the 20th of each month. Town staff said they are working with the software vendor to develop this new tax within the software and will send additional collection process information as it becomes available.

If you are already having lodging taxes paid to the Town through Airbnb, Vrbo, or similar third-party platform, contact those entities to arrange for the additional tax to be collected and paid to the town of Carbondale, town officials said.