News in Brief
The Pitkin County commissioners voted unanimously to move forward Wednesday with a deal to buy 170 undeveloped acres on Smuggler Mountain.The commissioners voted during a short regular meeting of the board, giving preliminary approval to an ordinance authorizing the $15 million purchase as long as the city of Aspen agrees to split the cost. Commissioners Chairwoman Patti Kay-Clapper said county officials will open talks with the city immediately.The purchase, under the provisions of the ordinance, would be through the county’s Open Space and Trails program. Smuggler Mountain is a popular recreational area, used by hikers, bikers and others, and is one of the last large privately owned pieces of open space adjacent to Aspen.The deal also would put an end to decades of haggling between local governments and the property’s owner, George “Wilk” Wilkinson.”We need to jump on it so we can get this thing done,” Clapper said, adding that Wilkinson is in poor health and eager to see the deal go through.Valley resident appointed to state water committeeMark Fuller of Missouri Heights was appointed to a new state committee working on local solutions to Colorado’s water future.State Rep. Kathleen Curry, whose district includes the Roaring Fork Valley, and state Sen. Jim Isgar selected Fuller to the nine-member committee. Fuller has been involved in many government and conservation causes in the valley for about 20 years. He is currently director of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority, a consortium of county and municipal governments in the Roaring Fork River watershed.Fuller holds a master’s in public administration from the University of Colorado at Denver. He will represent the Colorado River Basin on the state water committee.The Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act, a bill the state Legislature approved last year, established the committee. Nine regional roundtables have been created – one for each of Colorado’s eight water basins and the Denver metro region. Each consists of representatives of local governments and water districts, and members representing community stakeholders and water rights owners.Roundtables will address local projects, including developing a basin water needs assessment, analyzing unappropriated waters and proposing a water project list.
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