Roundabout is on its way to aid Gypsum’s Valley Road traffic | VailDaily.com

Roundabout is on its way to aid Gypsum’s Valley Road traffic

Improved camping opportunities around town is one of the priorities Gypsum residents supported in a recent community recreation survey. The town is looking to partner with both the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on camping ammenities.
Pam Boyd | pboyd@vaildaily.com

GYPSUM — Gypsum residents who hit the school start-time backlog on Valley Road will get some relief in 2019.

But before things get better, they will get messier.

The big capitol project proposed for Gypsum’s 2019 budget is construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of Valley Road and Cooley Mesa Road. The estimated project cost is $2 million.

“The objective is to go to bid very early in the new year,” said Gypsum Assistant Manager and Town Engineer Jim Hancock.

“One of the big challenges with that intersection is it’s where all utility lines go to die.”Jim HancockGypsum assistant manager and town engineer

In preparation for the roundabout, this year the town completed a series of land transactions to provide the needed right of way for the intersection. Engineering for the project is nearly complete, but many issues are quite literally waiting to be uncovered.

“One of the big challenges with that intersection is it’s where all utility lines go to die,” Hancock said.

As part of the project, overhead power lines along Valley Road will be buried. Additionally, the town anticipates it will have to work out solutions for other utilities located under the intersection pavement.

“It is going to be a challenge, but the end result will be well worth it,” said Gypsum Town Manager Jeremy Rietmann.

Conservative budgeting

As the town plans its spending in 2019, Gypsum officials are projecting just a 3 percent increase in sales tax revenues.

“We know there is a little uncertainty with the national economy,” Rietmann said.

Specifically, he pointed out that the longest economic expansion in U.S. history happened over a 120-month period between 1991 and 2001. The current economic expansion began in June of 2009.

“We are 112 months into this current expansion, which doesn’t necessarily mean a recession is imminent but in terms of the national economy, we are moving into uncharted territory,” Rietmann said.

Gypsum’s proposed operating budget for 2019 is just over $10 million. Total projected revenues are $8.4 million. The additional spending reflects the amount the town has saved up to complete the roundabout project and Gypsum anticipates maintaining a reserve fund that totals roughly 23 percent of the town’s overall budget.

Other spending

While the Valley Road roundabout is the biggest project in the forecast for Gypsum this year, the town has also set aside money to improve its water meter reading software and to install a backup generator at the water treatment plant.

There’s also a bit of fun funding in the town’s 2019 spending plan.

Gypsum has budgeted $250,000 from its recreation fund to improve camping opportunities around town. That was listed as a top resident priority in a recent Gypsum recreation survey.

Hancock noted the top camping opportunity is LEDE reservoir, located on U.S. Forest Service property southeast of town. The town is looking to build day use and overnight camping amenities and install a vault toilet.

“It’s a logical thing to do and it would be this great, unprecedented partnership with the Forest Service,” Hancock said.

The town is also continuing discussions with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management regarding a possible partnership to improve services at the campground located just west of Gypsum.

Rietmann added that after completing some recreational trail work in 2018, Gypsum plans to take a year off and evaluate the work that’s been done.

“That way we will know where to spend money in the future,” he said.

And finally, Gypsum also plans to do a bit of aesthetic work in 2019, allocating $25,000 for cleanup, visual enhancement and parking improvements at the descriptively named Broken Bridge area. The broken bridge is a concrete structure that can be spotted to the east of U.S. Highway 6 at the Eagle River, and the area around the structure is a popular put-in spot for rafters and fishermen.