Work to start soon on Avon whitewater park
AVON – Tanja Shivley will have a chance to try her skills at the new whitewater park here next spring, town officials say.Shivley, 31, an avid kayaker who lives in Avon Crossing, said she’s looking forward to see new whitewater features in the river.”It will be great for the community,” she said.If the Town Council gives its approval, work could start this summer on the main part of the park, which will cover five miles of the Eagle River from Eagle-Vail to the Miller Creek Bridge in Edwards. The town has $100,000 to design the park, which will cost an estimated cost of about $800,000. Construction around “Bob the bridge” – the Avon Road bridge – is scheduled to start this fall, said Avon Mayor Ron Wolfe. The town will share the cost with Vail Resorts, East West Partners, Beaver Creek and Eagle County, Wolfe said.
“We have to build it when the river flow is low,” said Wolfe of the park where people will kayak, raft, float and fish.Boulders in and around the river will be moved to create better navigation when the water is low and challenging features for boaters during high water. There will also be some spectator areas, an access path down to the river and parking areas.Neighbors’ concernsThough he believes the project is a positive thing, Guy Erickson, who lives on Eaglebend Drive next to the Eagle River, said he worries who would be liable if people using the park trespass on private property and get hurt. “I was told by a representative at the town of Golden that a residential component would not be a good idea due to the fact that spectators and participants are all over their parks area and do not respect any access points, exit points and riverbanks,” Erickson said.
But Avon won’t encourage anyone to trespass or violate individual property owners’ rights, Wolfe said.”The issue of liability to the town and to owners is under study,” Wolfe said. “I have spent the last two weeks talking to several property owners along the river to see what kind of agreement is needed to ultimately expand the use of the river over a the whole 5-mile stretch. “One of the objectives is to create legal river access and parking so that boaters don’t trespass on people’s properties,” he added.So far, there are eight access points planned for the park. “There are some good access points that are owned by the county or the town. Our first objective is to use those,” Wolfe said.Erickson said he would also like the town to study whether the park will harm the river. Wolfe said all the needed work will be done for the required permitting.”An extensive assessment is not needed,” he said.
People worried about crowds on the banks of the river shouldn’t confuse everyday use with an event like the TEVA games, Wolfe said.”If Avon were to ever be a venue for a game event it would be at the Avon Road bridge,” he said. “Documents will be produced depicting legal parking and access, along with the ‘rules’ of respectful use of the river.”Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Vail, Colorado