Unincorporated El Jebel outpaced Basalt for growth between 2010 and 2020

U.S. Census Bureau data shows midvalley trends

Work is underway on the Basalt River Park open space and development in Basalt. The development will add 24 residences.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

The population growth in the mid-Roaring Fork Valley over the past decade was concentrated more around the El Jebel area than Basalt, according to the latest U.S. Census data.

Basalt’s reported population increased by 127 people, or 3.3%, from 2010 to 2020, according to U.S. Census data posted on the website of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

Since El Jebel isn’t an incorporated municipality, the Census Bureau provided a couple of different measurements of population of the area. In both cases, the growth was greater than 3.3%.

One measurement is the Eagle County Census Tract 3.01, which includes the high-density neighborhoods at the core of El Jebel (El Jebel Mobile Home Park, Blue Lake subdivision, Summit Vista and Sopris Village), as well as lower-density surrounding areas that include the parts of Emma and Missouri Heights in Eagle County.

Tract 3.01 grew by 616 people, or 10.6%, between 2010 and 2020, according to the Census Bureau. The population for the area increased to 6,420 in 2020 from 5,804 a decade before.

The Census Bureau also looks at the El Jebel Census Designated Place, which is limited to the high-density core. The population of that defined area increased to 4,130 in 2020 from 3,801, according to census data. That is an increase of 329 people or 8.6%.

The El Jebel area is on the cusp of another population surge with the development. Eagle County approved 340 residences in the Tree Farm project, across Highway 82 from Whole Foods. Down the road, across Highway 82 from the Blue Lake entrance, there is a proposal for 137 residences at a project called The Fields.

The average number of people per household in the U.S. is about 2.5. If that were the case at the Tree Farm and The Fields, the area would add about 1,200 residents in the next few years.

The census data showed that Basalt grew substantially more between 2000 and 2010 than during the past decade. Basalt’s population soared from 2,681 in 2000 to 3,857 in 2010, according to census data. That was an increase of 1,176 residents, or 44%.

Basalt’s reported growth of 127 people, or 3.3%, between 2010 and 2020 seems suspect based on the number of residential projects that have been completed in recent years. Roaring Fork Apartments added 56 units in 2018 and three major apartment complexes opened in Willits Town Center between 2017 and 2020. Part of the Park Modern project also was constructed prior to 2020.

On the other side of the ledger, 38 residences and hundreds of estimated occupants were removed from the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park in 2013 and 2014.

Town of Basalt officials said they haven’t had a chance to assess the census data yet. The town’s recently completed master plan estimated the town’s 2020 population at 4,400 people.

Like El Jebel, Basalt is in a position to grow significantly in the next few years. The 113-residence Stott’s Mill project is under construction near Basalt High School. Another 24 residences are being built where the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park once was located.

Two significant projects also are under review — a 155-unit multi-family housing project at Willits and 70 apartments downtown where Clark’s Market was once located.

If all projects were built, that would add 362 residences and roughly 900 people to Basalt.

(Aspen Journalism provided research for this report.)


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