Now is the time | AspenTimes.com

Now is the time

On election day, voters in the midvalley have the opportunity to give themselves a wonderful gift. A place to gather, a place to play, a place for quiet reflection.

I’m referring, of course, to Crown Mountain Park, the main element of the Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District proposal. Ballot Questions 4D, 4E and 4F. Vote yes on these three questions to secure the recreational future of the midvalley.

Crown Mountain Park, the former Mount Sopris Tree Farm property in El Jebel, has been the subject of intense planning efforts for nearly 10 years now. Eagle County, Pitkin County, the town of Basalt and numerous citizen planning groups have come together to develop a comprehensive, sensible and fiscally conservative plan for developing this superb property into a community asset that we can all be proud of.

In addition, all previous planning efforts have unanimously recommended the formation of a Parks and Recreation District to finance and manage both the park and recreation in general in the midvalley area.

Now, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our friends and neighbors, we finally have the chance to act on those recommendations and move forward with much-needed recreational improvements for children and adults alike.

The district service plan calls for a wide range of development on the park property. Picnic areas, dog parks, open lawns, trails and playgrounds will be built side-by-side with fields for team sports like baseball and soccer. Basketball, tennis and volleyball courts will be available for pick-up games.

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The plan includes planning for redevelopment of the old Forest Service buildings on the property and for preservation of 60-plus acres of undeveloped open space. Riparian areas are preserved, mass-transit and bike/pedestrian links are provided and use is limited to daylight hours.

In addition, the service plan calls for the district to work with the town of Basalt and other public recreation agencies to manage local recreation facilities and programs cooperatively and for maximum efficiency.

This thoughtful and thorough service plan will effectively balance the needs of active and passive recreation and provide for gradual build-out according to the needs of the community.

The only way this plan is going to be carried out is if we, the midvalley voters, make it happen by approving the formation of the district and the issuance of bonds to finance development and maintenance.

The price is manageable ? around $100 per year for most households ? and we will have the satisfaction of seeing our tax dollars put toward the development of a community amenity that will increase property values, improve our quality of life, and provide a safe and centralized facility for community events, youth sports and recreational activities of all kinds.

No one is going to do this for us, folks ? if we want a first-class community park on the old tree farm property, now is the time and the Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District is the way. Please vote yes on Ballot Questions 4E, 4D and 4F.

Mark Fuller

Missouri Heights