Neighborhood lobbies for trail access
Residents of a mobile home park sandwiched between Highway 82 and the Roaring Fork River could soon get a bridge to the valley’s longest biking trail.A Lazy Glen resident, Dawn Dexter, has led the charge to get access to the Rio Grande Trail, located across the river. The Pitkin County Open Space and Trails board is now looking into the project, which would benefit residents of the neighborhood’s 100 lots.At a recent joint meeting of the Pitkin County commissioners and the open space and trails board, board members said they’d support the bridge and give the county staff direction to pursue to project.”It’s our duty to provide [Lazy Glen] with amenities of a trail they pay for with their tax dollars. Anything we can do to encourage people to use the trail system is a good thing,” said Bill Fales, an open space and trails board member.Dexter began her campaign by writing a letter to the open space board last summer and collecting 71 signatures from her neighbors – “Virtually everyone who answered their door signed the petition,” she said.Currently, Dexter noted, the neighborhood’s residents have to ride bikes more than a mile along Highway 82 to get to a connection with the Rio Grande Trail. The dangerous, busy highway doesn’t make it easy to get to the trail for recreation, she said.”It is unsafe to ask people to use Highway 82 to get to the trail,” said County Commissioner Dorothea Farris.But board members also noted that the bridge must be a public entity, not built with taxpayer money specifically for Lazy Glen residents.”If we spend this money for the residents, it should be quid pro quo for the public,” said open space board member Rick Neiley. “It should be a general access point.”According to Dale Will, director of the county’s open space and trails program, since land across the river from the neighborhood is much higher, the bridge would have to span the river and connect to a steep trail that goes up the riverbank to the Rio Grande Trail.”You’d have to walk your bike up instead of riding the steep ascent on the east side of the river,” he said. “But having said that, I think it’s a really good idea – there are 100 lots worth of people living there in the area pinned between 82 and the river, and we would love to see them get in and out of Basalt without driving.”The Rio Grande Trail runs from Aspen to Emma.Open space and trails must now contact the Kirianoffs, landowners who own the property across the river from Lazy Glen. Will said they will talk to Gregory Kirianoff about a trail easement. Kirianoff is in the process of subdividing his land and selling lots. Will said there is a question of how he’ll feel about a public bridge in the area.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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