Eagle weighs full slate of construction projects | VailDaily.com

Eagle weighs full slate of construction projects

Kathy Heicher

EAGLE – If the Eagle Town Board decides to fast-track the Broadway streetscape project, other capital projects the town had planned for this year are likely to be delayed.That means there will be some tough choices for the town board to make tonight, when it’s scheduled to decide whether to compress the long-awaited Broadway streetscape project into a one year, rather than a two-year, time frame. Town staff members have been drawing up a list of capital projects that would have to be delayed, due to money and staff limitations, if the Broadway project speeds ahead. Town Manager Willy Powell said money for the project could be borrowed from other funds, which would be replenished next year as sales tax revenues flow in.”The principal issue is whether the greater good of the public is being served by accelerating this into a single-phase project,” Powell said.The streetscape project involves reconstruction of Broadway, from 5th Street to Highway 6, including installation of a new water main, storm drainage, sidewalks, landscaping, and paving. The $3 million project, which has been jointly planned by the town and downtown merchants, will disrupt the town’s central business district. Initial plans called for the work to be done over two years, with construction from Fifth to Third Street taking place this spring; and work from Third Street to Highway 6 being completed next year. Worried merchantsBut a later-than-anticipated start has some downtown merchants concerned that they will lose their peak summer business seasons two years in a row. That, combined with the imminent construction of a Costco retail store in Gypsum, has prompted several local merchants to press for the project to be undertaken in a single construction season. “If sales tax revenue is that important to the future of Eagle, we are missing out on some big months,” Jan Rosenthal Townsend, owner of the Alpine Ambiance store on Broadway, told the town board last week.”We expected it to be done. We were promised. It has been in the budget. This is a big disappointment – a big loss of revenue for everybody,” she said.At the same meeting, Annie Colby of the Eagle Pharmacy also urged the town to consider fast-tracking the Broadway project.”It is not a matter of giving money to retailers. It is giving for the town. The end result is for all the people,” she said. “Let’s just get it done and go for it.”Town officials said the process of planning the project, which included extensive public input, and preparing it for bid took longer than expected. Subsequently, work is starting at least a month later than originally planned.Possible delaysTown staff members have drawn up a list of capital projects likely to be delayed (depending on how the Town Board votes), if the Broadway project is fast-tracked:- Church and Second Streets. This $876,000-project targets streets that have been significantly impacted by the development of the Bluffs housing project, and by the connection of Church Street to the roundabout. The project calls for grade improvements on Church Street as it approaches Third, drainage control measures, and pedestrian walkways. Second Street improvements would involve curb, gutter, and sidewalks.- Eby Creek Road pedestrian trail. The town had budgeted $30,000 for planning this year; and $550,000 for construction next year for this project. The path would connect the new pedestrian bridge over the Eagle River to Chambers Avenue. Currently, a portion of that walkway is on the road surface of Eby Creek Road, a busy route between Interstate 70 and Highway 6.- Allen Tract “discontinuity” project. The Allen Tract is the parcel of land that the ice rink is located on. Some $280,000 was budgeted for this project in 2006, which is intended to encourage more traffic use of Sylvan Lake Road (which runs through the Eagle Ranch Subdivision), and less traffic on lower Brush Creek Road.- Transportation planning. The budget earmarks $50,000 for a transportation plan update. Town officials have long voiced concerns about road capacity issues in several areas; particularly on Eby Creek Road.One capital project that Town Board members made clear they want to see happen this year is the placement of new water and sewer mains in the Church Street and Hilltop neighborhoods. Utilities in that neighborhood were developed in what Powell describes as a “helter-skelter” way in the 1950s and 1960s, before the town had a staff or rules regulating such matters. Problems with services in the area have been continual, and have included raw sewage spilling out onto the streets at times.”We can’t sacrifice Hilltop to Broadway,” board member Paul Witt said last week, with his fellow council members nodding agreement.The Town Board will discuss the issue on Tuesday, April 11. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Eagle Town Hall.Vail, Colorado

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