Crews are back in the Eagle River, building features for Eagle River Park | VailDaily.com

Crews are back in the Eagle River, building features for Eagle River Park

EAGLE — Boaters and river enthusiasts may have clear sailing in the Eagle River Park in the next few months.

Construction crews from Hobbs Excavation are back in the river this week, working on the two remaining river features. They should be done around the first of the year, said Jeremy Gross, Eagle's marketing and events manager.

After that's done, crews will begin building the park along the river. Parts of that could open by summer, Gross said.

Bonfire Brewing's fire pit

Eagle-based Bonfire Brewing became the first major donor to earn naming rights to one of the park's amenities. Bonfire bought the naming rights to the eastern fire pit, one of the park's central hubs.

"Naming the fire pit at the center of what will serve as a gathering spot for Eagle for decades to come was a no-brainer," said Andy Jessen, Bonfire Brewing owner and co-founder.

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The river park project was one of Jessen's first initiatives when he was elected to Eagle's Board of Trustees in 2014. He's now in his second term.

"Watching this park come to fruition as a trustee, citizen and business owner in Eagle has been perhaps the most gratifying experience I can recall during my 10 years here," Jessen said.

The Eagle River Park runs along the Eagle River near the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo grounds and Chambers Park. The river park will include four river features for boaters and a park along the bank. It used to be a dirt parking lot frequented by semi-trucks.

"The Eagle River Park has been on the wish list of boaters and residents for decades," said Matt Solomon, Eagle town trustee.

Nos. 3 and 4 last year

Last winter, crews built two river features, Nos. 3 and 4, after the water levels dropped and they could get in the river. They pulled out over the summer, and now they're working on Nos. 1 and 2.

The low flows this summer enabled them to get back in the river this month, earlier than anticipated, Gross said. The Eagle River was flowing at 99 cubic feet per second, close to record lows, when it was measured before Labor Day.

While high river flows help, the water features can be adjusted to make the river run faster through them.

Prior to Labor Day, S2O Designs tested the RapidBloc in one of the existing features and raised the water 18 inches, Gross said. RapidBlocs can be raised or lowered in the river to adjust the speed at which the water flows over the features.

Nos. 1 and 2 this year

As they did last winter, Hobbs crews diverted the river behind a series of levees and through a set of 60-inch pipes, clearing the way for them to work in the riverbed.

Features Nos. 1 and 2 are substantially larger and pack much more water energy as the river flows through them, Gross said.

That's why they're building a bypass channel on the left side of the river, for boaters looking for a more sedate experience.

"Some people might not want to paddle through them," Gross said.

In-stream work should take three to four months. Hobbs crews should be out of the river around the first of the year, Gross said.

No changes in the budget

All in, the park will cost $5.9 million, funded by a 0.5 percent sales tax Eagle voters approved in 2016.

Still, that won't cover everything that everyone wants.

Park projects designed by local landscape architects Zehren and Associates including a possible climbing wall, a pair of riverside beaches and river access. A pavilion and bathroom facilities combined with a multi-use lawn, plaza, picnic areas, terraced boulder seating along the waterfront and a pair of fire pits could also be phased in as funds become available.

Gross said the things that are paid for, they'll build. The things that aren't paid for will have to wait until they have raised the money.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

What’s happening in the Eagle River Park

• Eagle River Park designers S2O installed in-stream RapidBlocs on feature 4 this month, to test their ability to alter flow. S2O will also be installing a concrete rapid block on feature 3 to adjust the center of the wave face during normal flows.

• Materials import for phase II in-steam construction has started.

• In-stream construction activities have begun again, starting with the fish bypass structure construction.

• JEV Construction is continuing work on the restroom facility’s roof, exterior finishes, doors and windows.

• All design documents have now been completed.

For more information about the Eagle River Park, visit eagleoutside.com/riverpark.

Source: Town of Eagle