School buses to be put out to pasture? |

School buses to be put out to pasture?

The downvalley school district is taking another crack at finding a suitable site in the midvalley for a bus barn.The Roaring Fork School District made an offer Aug. 16 to the Mid-valley Metropolitan District for a 2-acre property about 1.25 miles downvalley from the El Jebel stoplight, officials with both organizations confirmed.The site is across Highway 82 from Mid-valley’s waste water treatment plant. The land is currently a pasture leased out for horse grazing. It’s between Highway 82 and the frontage road that was formerly Highway 82.The school district offered $300,000 for the site, contingent on an appraisal verifying the property is valued at least that high, according to Shannon Pelland, assistant superintendent of business services for the school district.Pelland and Bill Reynolds, Mid-valley’s district manager, said negotiations are just starting. Neither board has approved a deal.Pelland said the school district’s first priority is to determine if the site is large enough to accommodate the transportation facility. If so, the district will host public meetings to “get a feel for how the community feels about a facility in that location” and what type of steps are necessary to mitigate visual impacts, she said.A previous effort by the school district to buy property in the midvalley was derailed. The district explored buying four acres across Highway 82 from Catherine Store in January. Angry residents of the neighborhood criticized the proposal as an inappropriate use that would generate too much traffic.The school district backed off the plan, in part because of the opposition.”We learned a little bit,” Pelland said. That’s why public meetings will be a bigger, and earlier, part of this process.The district wants to replace its transportation facilities at the Basalt middle and elementary school campus, as well as a similar facility in Carbondale, with one central facility. It is important to find something in the El Jebel area so both Carbondale and Basalt can be effectively served, Pelland said. The property choices are limited.”Unless somebody knows something we don’t know, we’re out of options,” she said.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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