Eagle mulls planning, fund-raising for river park | VailDaily.com

Eagle mulls planning, fund-raising for river park

This graphic from Alpine Engineering details the scope of work at the new Eagle River Park. The Edwards firm, in partnership with Zehren and Associates, has been awarded a $303,000 contract from the town to design the riverside amenities at the new park

EAGLE — With an architectural team now hired, Eagle's efforts on its proposed river park are tapping into the community.

The design team of Alpine Engineering in Edwards and Zehren and Associates of Avon met with the 28-member Eagle River Park Design Steering Committee for the first time Monday. Additionally, the town hosted a Jan. 19 meeting with the boating community that drew 20 interested parties. Next up is the first public input meeting, scheduled Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Brush Creek Pavilion.

Beyond these efforts to get the public involved in planning the project, the town is honing in on fundraising and construction management needs for the project.

The ambitious river park plan envisions a new amenity both in and along the river at a current truck parking site just east of the Eagle County Fairgrounds. The town has hired a company called S20 to plan various river features to attract boaters, kayakers and tubers, while the riverfront park will include passive and active recreation amenities, trails and a river beach area.

“I think we are at a point that we need a focal person who oversees most things (related to the Eagle River Park construction).”John SchneigerEagle town manager

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All told, the project is estimated to cost $8.3 million. A little over $5.2 million of that amount will come from a bond issue supported by a 0.5 percent sales tax increase approved by Eagle voters in April of 2016. The town also hopes to attract $2 million in grant dollars for the project, leaving a private fundraising goal of nearly $1.1 million to finish the project. A special citizens committee will be appointed by the town to conduct the private fundraising.

'We need a focal person'

On the subject of construction expertise, the town board plans to hire a construction manager to watch out for Eagle's interest.

At their meeting Tuesday, Eagle Town Board members stated their desire to get that person hired soon.

"I think we are at a point that we need a focal person who oversees most things (related to the Eagle River Park construction)," said Eagle Town Manager John Schneiger.

Schneiger noted the town's 2017 budget includes $40,000 for a construction manager/owners representative for the river park project. He said the town estimated this person would work approximately 20 hours per week. Schneiger also noted that the budgeted amount may be a bit low.

Board members indicated they would consider the funding question as the town proceeds toward hiring its representative and supported hiring the position as soon as possible.

Town board member Scott Turnipseed said the sooner the town has someone on board who will have a handle on the costs associated with the project, the better off Eagle will be in planning the facility.

"We need a person like this, end of story," Turnipseed said.

Eagle resident Melanie Richmond stressed the urgency of this hire.

"Time is not on your side," she said.

Richmond also offered information to the board about the different processes the town can employ to build the project. She stressed that having a construction manager on board is critical as Eagle proceeds.

"We need someone in charge," she said. "The construction manager will help drive the design."

With input from the board, town staff will now develop a request for proposals for the construction manager post.