Public can help craft management plan for Emma buildings, ag land
IF YOU GO
What: Emma Open Space management plan open house
Where: Basalt Town Hall
When: Thursday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
An open house will be held Thursday to help determine the future of the historic Emma townsite and separate open space that surrounds the old Emma school.
The meeting is being billed as the kickoff for the management planning for the Emma properties, and the public is invited to provide input. The meeting is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Basalt Town Hall.
“These properties are very visible from Highway 82, though passersby may not realize land to either side of the highway is open space,” said Lindsey Utter, planning and outreach manager for Open Space and Trails. “Certainly everyone sees the old store buildings. We’ve done work to keep them from collapsing, but this is the first time we’ve asked the public for ideas about what to do with them.”
The Emma Store buildings and an adjacent Victorian home are on 12.5 acres acquired by the open space program in 2008. It also includes Roaring Fork River frontage, heritage fruit trees, wetlands and the home of nesting ospreys.
The property is approximately 17 miles west of Aspen.
“The management plan won’t determine a specific use for the historic buildings,” Utter said, “but it will start the discussion, given the challenges in repurposing them — the limited access off the highway, in particular.”
An additional 65 acres of open space are located across Highway 82 from the townsite. The open space program acquired that land in 2000. It’s been leased for agricultural uses, including potato growing for Woody Creek Distillers and hay production by a midvalley ranching family.
The agricultural leases will go to bid this fall, potentially opening the property to new agricultural uses.
Public comment will be accepted by the open space program via its website through April 7. A draft management plan is scheduled to go to the Open Space and Trails Board of Trustees on April 20, followed by another round of public comment.
Final adoption of a management plan is expected June 22.
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