Tree farm task force gets off to slow start |

Tree farm task force gets off to slow start

Aspen Times Staff Report

A task force created by Eagle County to “explore recreational uses of the Mt. Sopris Tree Farm” is getting off to a slow start.

The Basalt Town Council last month turned down the Eagle County commissioners’ request to chip in up to $5,000 for the committee’s work. The board felt “we put a load of money into this already,” according to Town Manager Tom Baker.

The town of Basalt spent about $30,000 last year on a recreation design process that included considerable participation from midvalley residents. That process began in controversy and ended in consensus.

Ultimately, it determined the types and numbers of athletic fields and other recreational facilities that should be developed at the 120-acre tree farm, located in the El Jebel area.

The Pitkin County commissioners have also been asked to contribute up to $5,000 for this latest round of planning, but the board is leaning more toward offering staff time rather than cash, according to Commissioner Mick Ireland.

Eagle County Administrator Jim Hartmann said he hasn’t received formal word yet on either funding request. He said the task force’s work is important because it will study how to fund the recreational amenities that residents of the area desire. For example, it determine how to fund and set up something like a special recreation district.

Meanwhile, Eagle County is also working on a plan to build government offices on a corner of the tree farm. A contract is being negotiated with Gibson-Reno Architects of Aspen.

Hartmann said Eagle County government will likely review its plan for offices throughout the summer.

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