Friday, December 4, 2020

Commissioners approve five-year capital improvement plan

Includes CB South rec path, Brush Creek intersection and Slate River Bridge

[ By Katherine Nettles ]

If the grant funding fates align, the county’s capital “wish list” for the next five years could bring extensive road improvements to the North Valley; a recreation path between Crested Butte and Crested Butte South; whitewater park improvements; landfill additions; and/or a new Somerset sewer system, among other projects on a list of priorities approved by county officials.

Gunnison County commissioners approved their updated five-year capital improvement plan for 2021 through 2025 this fall, after holding a work session with community development director Cathie Pagano and county manager Matthew Birnie.

Birnie emphasized that the capital improvement list is a planning document, not an appropriations document, and is not connected to the county budget. Should grant funding opportunities become available, for instance, county officials can use this document to provide guidance and documentation of estimated costs, previous investments and proposed project phases. Projects are also ranked to give a rough estimate of priority.

The updated plan maintains the previous five-year list, with the addition of the Shady Island River Park project, which the commissioners began working on in the past few years. The estimated cost listed is $1.1 million.
Road improvements include maintenance equipment at a cost of $3.1 million; hard surfacing along 14 miles of county roads by the end of 2023 at a cost up to $2.6 million; replacing the Slate River Bridge for $1.4 million in 2022; and improving the Brush Creek intersection for an estimated $2 million.

Trails on the list include a Gold Basin detached trail to access Hartman Rocks Recreation Area for $1 million and a Crested Butte to Crested Butte South recreation path at a cost of $1.5 million, to begin in 2022 or after.

The document describes the rationale for the rec path project: “Crested Butte South is a large subdivision, comprised of single-family homes and multi-family dwellings. The parents work in the Town of Crested Butte or Gunnison, and the children attend school and participate in organized activities in the Town of Crested Butte. There is bus service, but there is currently no safe access for pedestrians or bikers to make the commute.

“The trail will likely be in county road and/or CDOT right of ways and on easements across private land. It will be maintained in the summer and may be groomed for Nordic skiing in the winter. It will be designed to ultimately be surfaced with concrete or asphalt, but will start with an aggregate surface to reduce the cost. Construction will require a trail bridge or approval from CDOT to add a pedestrian lane on their highway bridge.

“This trail is the number one priority of the STOR committee. It is also representative of the statewide initiative identified by Governor Hickenlooper to Connect Communities.”

Other items include a Somerset sewer system replacement for $250,000; landfill improvements to include an additional cell and wind fencing for $1.8 million; updated aerial maps; and a sprinkler system for the county fairgrounds.

Commissioners approved the plan unanimously on October 6.

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