Avon officials seeking residents’ opinions about the future of town-owned land | VailDaily.com

Avon officials seeking residents’ opinions about the future of town-owned land

Several Avon residents gave their opinions about possible plans for town-owned land at an April 5 open house.

See the ideas

To see the ideas for several pieces of town-owned land, go to http://www.avon.org/engage.

AVON — This town has some big decisions to make during the next few months, decisions that will have long-term effects on both the town’s appearance and its finances.

There’s a good bit of available land in Avon, spread out mostly across the valley floor. There’s land at the Village at Avon that hasn’t yet been built upon, but there’s still more property that could be rebuilt. What that rebuilding process looks like remains to be seen and town officials have started a public outreach project to see what residents want.

Parking and housing are big issues, of course, but so is the look of the 45 acres at Nottingham Park and the existing town hall, fire station, library and recreation center.

Another question regards the fate of an old barn that currently sits on Eagle River Water & Sanitation District property. That barn — which currently needs extensive work to be useful even for storage — has to move in the not-too-distant future, since the district’s future plans need the land the structure currently occupies.

A number of residents would like to preserve the barn, but questions need to be answered about what uses it might have — and what moving and improving the structure might cost.

To help guide that complicated set of questions, Design Workshop, a Denver-based planning firm, has evaluated the town’s current parking inventory and has drawn up options for possible future uses of town property. Now it’s the publics turn to talk about those options.

Several residents turned out for a recent open house at Avon Town Hall. People could look at various maps with various ideas for future use, then provide their own comments.

Maybe a gondola?

Wildridge residents John and Janet Perdzock, like other residents, are concerned about the availability of parking in town — living in Wildridge makes driving into the town’s commercial areas a must.

What Design Workshop and Gordon Shaw and LSC Transportation Consultants have found is that parking in town is rarely more than half-full, on average. Of course, that varies depending on the time of day.

Gordon Shaw of LSC said the idea is to put parking where people need it most and where it can best serve a goal of fewer vehicle trips around the commercial area.

“You shouldn’t need a car in the core areas,” Shaw said, adding that cars will always be a part of the town’s transportation picture.

This isn’t on any of the plans, but the Perdzocks said they’d like to see a gondola from the heart of Avon into Beaver Creek Village, similar to the system between Telluride and Mountain Village.

“It should be public transit,” John Perdzock said.

That addition, Janet Perdzock said, could make Avon a place to go, rather than a place to drive through.

A performance space?

Looking at another board, Kat Haber and Sasha Marks said they’d like to see the barn become a kind of performance or artists’ space.

Marks and Haber are coordinators of TEDxVail. Haber said there’s a need in the valley for a performance or meeting space to hold 600 or so people.

But, Haber added, “I’m thrilled Avon is planning its future this way.”

Resident Ruth Stanley agreed, saying the planning process is bringing out “great ideas.”

Town officials are also trying to seek out ideas from as many residents as possible.

Avon Planning Director Matt Pielsticker said he was pleased by the turnout at the April 5 meeting.

“We saw some new and familiar faces, and not all the same demographic,” Pielsticker said.

Pielsticker added that town officials throughout the next four or five weeks will push to get even more public comment. He said that printed material is available in both English and Spanish and there will be English and Spanish pages on the internet.

The Avon Town Council will start hashing out the public comments and recommendations.

Council member Megan Burch said more public meetings will be held in June. The council will figure out next steps after those meetings.

Whatever the council decides will have to include ways to pay for any improvements or renovations.

Burch said the town’s finances and bond ratings are solid. But, she added, this fall is probably too soon to take any improvements-financing package to voters.

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