Pitkin has $113M in projects planned | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin has $113M in projects planned

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

Runway improvements at the airport, new trails and aerial photography for mapping are some of the $113 million in projects Pitkin County has in the works for 2006. The Board of County Commissioners has not yet approved much of the money. Most of the cash will come from federal grants and sources other than the county’s general fund. The big-ticket items are nearly all at the airport, with roughly $45 million in specific projects there.”The airport is building their facility for the next 25 years,” said Brian Pettet, director of Pitkin County public works.

The airport projects include a $9.5 million air rescue and fire building; $14.8 million in improvements on two taxiways; and $12 million to improve the runway, which will likely shut down the airport from April to June 2007. Besides the airport, millions will be spent in 2006 on trails, including Brush Creek Trail, building a trail from the music school to the hospital along Castle Creek, paving the Rio Grande Trail, and rehabilitating existing trails.Many of the improvements in the county are part of the 10-year capital replacement plan. Many of the smaller-ticket items involve repairing roads so they don’t get to the point where they need to be rebuilt.”There are a lot of rehabilitation projects around the county that need to be done,” Pettet said. “We need to maintain the good roads and also fix the worst roads.”

One of the worst is Red Mountain Road, with a $1.8 million reconstruction cost, which includes an entirely new drainage system. The county is also spending significant sums on vehicles. The airport is buying a $500,000 water truck. A dump truck and plow for the county will cost $150,000 each, and a hook truck for solid waste will cost $100,000.”The vehicles are replaced based on the useful life cycle of the equipment,” Pettet said.There are also some large projects that involve gathering data or performing studies. More than $150,000 is budgeted for aerial photography involving geographic information systems mapping. Pettet said he will be pushing to make the GIS data into something easily accessible to the public.

“It would be great to click on a road and submit a very accurate complaint,” he said. “A lot of counties and cities have done that successfully, but we’re in the very beginning stages of doing that.”The county will also spend $500,000 to integrate fire records, law records, sheriff and police records, and other systems into a single computer system.Most of these spending requests are subject to board of county commissioners’ approval in mid-February.Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com

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