News in Brief |

News in Brief

PITKIN COUNTY ” Pitkin County is getting into the apartment rental business.

Facing a housing crunch and the challenge of attracting enough employees to fill county job rosters, the Pitkin County commissioners Wednesday approved the first reading of a resolution allowing the county to rent apartments and sublet to employees.

“We have an issue with trying to recruit staff,” Commissioner Patti Clapper said.

It’s a model the county borrowed from the Aspen Skiing Co., which sublets to seasonal workers, she added.

Clapper said renting apartments for employees is an interim step until the county can find long-term solutions.

BASALT ” Basalt officially opened a pedestrian bridge and short trail section Tuesday, providing a link between its two town cores.

The new bridge connects the Emma Trail to the Willits Trail. The Emma Trail parallels Highway 82 between the Basalt post office and the area of the old Emma Store. The new section extends the trail, crosses the Roaring Fork River and connects to the Willits Trail near the Aspen Junction bus stop on Two Rivers Road.

The project allows pedestrians and cyclists to travel from Basalt to Willits and El Jebel without using a road.

The cost of the trail and bridge was $855,000, according to Tom Newland, a consultant for the town on the project. The Colorado Department of Transportation gave a grant for $211,200, and the Mid Valley Trails Committee contributed $29,266. The town of Basalt covered the balance of project from its open space and trails fund.

The bridge is recycled: The town bought half the old Maroon Creek pedestrian bridge that was no longer needed because of the new bridge under construction there.

Although the new trail link officially opened Tuesday, Newland said its been in use for about 10 days.

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