Half an alley is better than none?
by Mark Reaman
In a unique public-private partnership arrangement, the Crested Butte Town Council is willing to work with some local residents and business owners to allow the partial paving of an alley in town.
The town does not normally pave and maintain the alleys but at the request of local businessman Eric Roemer, the council agreed to look at allowing asphalt to be laid on half the alley located south of Elk Avenue between Third and Second Streets, behind establishments like the Princess and Wooden Nickel.
The majority of the initial cost will be paid by citizens. The town will pay for some surveying and engineering to ensure proper storm water management. The town would do some prep work and continue to provide maintenance of the alley.
Roemer is spearheading the effort and told the council at the June 15 meeting he had support of most, but not all, of the residents and businesses whose property abuts that alley.
“The alleys in the business corridor get a lot of use,” Roemer said. “The mud is getting worse and worse. It’s a real battle so several of us are interested in paving it. We understand the town is not in a position to do it, so basically we are asking the town for its blessing to pave it.”
Roemer said one resident was against the idea because he liked dirt more than pavement, and several business lot owners did not respond to two requests for input. But most of the neighbors were in favor of the plan. He said there was enough interest to pave at least half the alley from Third Street to behind the Princess. He hoped to get it done in August or September.
Town manager Todd Crossett said the Public Works Department was in favor of the idea.
Councilman Glenn Michel pointed out that the town would likely take over the paved portion when this original asphalt wears out.
“I think it is appropriate and good that the businesses are taking the initiative,” said councilman Chris Ladoulis.
“It would be better to get the whole alley paved,” suggested councilman Jim Schmidt.
“Hopefully the others will see this coming and participate,” responded Roemer.
The council voted 5-1 for the idea, with councilman Shaun Matusewicz stating it was problematic to pave just half an alley.