Plan for new rec center includes street redesign |

Plan for new rec center includes street redesign

Scott CondonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

EL JEBEL – Proponents of a midvalley recreation center have proposed an extensive street redesign on the south side of the main El Jebel intersection to try to improve traffic flow and boost their chances of getting a facility approved by Eagle County.The Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District wants to pull Valley Road further away from Highway 82 and add a roundabout at the intersection of Valley Road and El Jebel Road. The roundabout is proposed to the east or upvalley of the existing Eagle County office building.Valley Road and East Valley Road serve as a frontage road to Highway 82. They create odd intersections with El Jebel Road and with Sopris Village Lane. The area is also hazardous at times for pedestrians using a nearby underpass of Highway 82.County officials have expressed doubts that the existing road network could handle the increased traffic generated by a 61,000-square-foot indoor recreation center proposed at Crown Mountain Park. Crown Mountain forwarded two alternatives for road redesigns to Eagle County last week. No decisions have been made. The county’s engineering department will review them and the commissioners will hold a meeting in November to offer comments. However, the commissioners made it clear in June that they would only approve a recreation center if Crown Mountain jump-started planning for traffic flow improvements in the area. The county has agreed to contribute funds to the redesign of the streets.Both options under consideration call for East Valley Road to be relocated south, away from Highway 82, as soon as it gets to the west or downvalley end of the Orchard Plaza development. The realigned road would cut through the old Mermaids restaurant space, which the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is trying to purchase for a park-and-ride lot.El Jebel Road would be slightly realigned and lengthened to hook into the roundabout.The new configuration would require realignment of Sopris Village Lane into the Sopris Village subdivision’s existing park.Crown Mountain’s two alternatives differ in one significant way. One proposal would realign Valley Road, also known as West Valley Road, to the south of the Eagle County government building and community center. That scenario essentially places a road in what is now open space and creates open space where a road currently exists between the county building and Highway 82.The second alternative would keep West Valley Road aligned as it is now but institute various measures designed to make traffic flow better.There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding the redesign, said Mark Fuller, a consultant to Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District. Crown Mountain and Eagle County haven’t determined yet how much each party will contribute for what is expected to be a multi-million dollar project, he said. Other potential contributors haven’t been identified, either. It also hasn’t been discussed yet when the improvements would be required.In addition, midvalley residents haven’t seen the proposal yet. Review of the roundabout and street realignments will be made as part of Crown Mountain’s efforts to get the indoor recreation center approved. Crown Mountain’s plan also comes for possible additions of a 14,000-square-foot gymnastics and fitness center, and a 10,400-square-foot six-lane lap pool. At build-out, the facility would be at 85,400 square feet.Crown Mountain’s board of directors decided in June not to approach voters this year for property tax increases to construct the recreation center and operate it. Board members said the tough economic times dictated that they wait. In addition, it became apparent in June that the essential first step – approval by Eagle County – wouldn’t be likely this year.The Eagle County commissioners are tentatively scheduled to renew their review on Nov. 15 in El

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