Minturn’s new sidewalks finally becoming reality
Multi-million-dollar project brings major upgrades to Main Street
MINTURN — After decades of visions and years of planning, Minturn’s main thoroughfare is getting a major facelift.
Sidewalks are being extended on Main Street through the south part of Minturn, providing a safe connection for pedestrians from the downtown area to Little Beach Park and neighborhoods on the south end of town.
Minturn is also getting new curbs, gutters and storm sewers, as well as a milled and repaved Main Street/Highway 24 in the $6.77 million project that’s being led up by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The town of Minturn pulled together $2.5 million for the new sidewalks, curbs, gutters and storm sewers, with the help of a couple of big grants — a million dollars each from the state Department of Local Affairs and the Transportation Alternatives Program, which is federal money that is administered through the Colorado Department of Transportation.
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The town chipped in about $500,000 of its own funds.
“It’s going to be one of the best projects that has happened to Minturn in a long time,” said Mayor John Widerman. “A lot of work from previous councils and a lot of work from current council to get this thing to where it is now. We’re really happy that everything is finally coming together.”
‘Fix the sidewalks’
In a 2019 community survey, “expand paved sidewalks, pathways and bikeways throughout town” was the top project that residents were willing to support or pay for, with 69% of residents in favor.
“Fix the sidewalks,” said one anonymous resident in the survey. “The town should focus on the sidewalks and roads first. If it can’t handle this simple government function, it has no business getting involved with workforce housing, senior care, economic development, or anything else. It must prove itself with sidewalks first before trying to save the world.”
Currently, the sidewalk on the west side of Main Street ends at Meek Avenue. The new sidewalks will pick up there and go down to the old Battle Mountain Trading Post building, now home to Revival Photographic.
On the east side, the current sidewalk ends at the Cemetery Bridge. The new sidewalk will pick up there and also extend to Revival Photographic.
In the main part of downtown, the project will also add some crosswalks and improvements that bring sidewalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Widerman said he is hopeful that all of the improvements will work to slow down traffic through town.
The project will also finally provide proper drainage of water from Main Street, including filters for storm water. That will help improve the health of the Eagle River. In previous years, the road has deteriorated because of a lack of appropriate drainage, said Town Manager Michelle Metteer.
CDOT steps up
Construction on the sidewalks, curbs, gutters and storm sewers are happening now, and the milling and repaving in that area will occur after those improvements are completed. Milling and repaving has already occurred on the north and south ends of town. The project should be done by the end of October.
By the end of the project, Main Street/Highway 24 will be milled and repaved from Maloit Road on the south end to the Interstate 70 interchange on the north end.
Metteer said that community plans dating back to the 1970s have called for the sidewalks that are now being constructed.
The latest effort began in earnest via the work of former town planner Janet Hawkinson in 2015. Former Town Manager Willy Powell was instrumental in winning the grants to fund the project, Metteer said.
Metteer and Widerman also praised the Department of Transportation for its willingness to find extra funds for the project.
When the construction bids for the sidewalk, curb, gutter and sewer project came in about 25% over the original estimates, the Department of Transportation stepped up to contribute an additional $190,000 via additional TAP funds. Minturn also contributed an additional $90,000, said CDOT Resident Engineer Karen Berdoulay.
Moving forward, Widerman said the town will look to secure funds to extend the sidewalks even further, and add bike lanes all the way to Maloit Park.
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When a crowd of around 500 people showed up in Vail on Tuesday night to join a protest march in support of Black Lives Matter, the gathering plainly violated Eagle County’s current COVID-19 recommendations.