News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

City borrows big for open spaceAspen is preparing to sell up to $14.9 million in bonds to fund open-space purchases and related expenditures.The bond issue has been anticipated since the voters approved a new half-cent sales tax for open space in 2000, according to Paul Menter, the city finance director. That tax will repay the debt.In closed-door talks, the city has identified four parcels it is interested in acquiring, Menter said. In addition, a water-reuse system and new irrigation at the municipal golf course are included as a project in the bond issue, though Parks and Water Department revenues are ultimately pegged to pay for that project, he said.The City Council approved the bond issue with the adoption of an emergency ordinance on first reading Monday. The final approval and a public hearing are set for Sept. 26; the bonds are scheduled to go on the market Sept. 28.Though specific acquisitions weren’t discussed last night, the council has previously identified private lands on Smuggler Mountain as an open space priority. Smuggler landowner George “Wilk” Wilkinson listed his landholdings for $15 million last month.One lane of Brush Creek Road closed todayOne lane of Brush Creek Road will be closed today between mile markers 1 and 1.5.Motorists are urged to use caution and anticipate minor delays. For more information, call the Pitkin County Road and Bridge Department at 920-5390.Aspen town meeting on WednesdayThe Aspen City Council will hold a town meeting from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, to seek input from the public before the council begins its 2006 budget deliberations.The meeting will take place in the council’s chambers at City Hall and replaces the neighborhood meetings the city has hosted in past years.Light refreshments will be served.Maroon Creek pedestrian span to come downRemoval of the Maroon Creek pedestrian bridge is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Sept. 21.Crews will disassemble 12 pieces of the steel structure and store them temporarily in the Maroon Creek basin, below the bridge. The process will require the full closure of the Chatfield Trail below the bridge for a day (most likely Monday, Sept. 26). When crews are ready to load and haul away the bridge sections (late this month or in early October), intermittent nighttime traffic stops on the Maroon Creek highway bridge will be required. Detailed information about bridge closures will be provided as the work progresses.While work is under way, users of the Chatfield Trail below the bridge will share the area with construction traffic. Caution signs are posted and should be observed. Cyclists should be aware of several blind turns where visibility is extremely limited along the trail. Comcast launches local HDTVComcast Cable launched its 14-channel, high-definition television service in Aspen/Snowmass and 12 other mountain communities Monday.Comcast subscribers will have access to HDTV programming from NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, PBS and nine other national channels, including ESPN and HBO.The service was also launched in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Garfield County, Rifle, Silt, New Castle and in other areas.HDTV, with its high-resolution picture and sound, is available to customers with an HDTV-capable television set and an HD-enabled digital cable box, provided by Comcast. It is available for $9.95 per month, following the promotional rate, according to Comcast.