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You’ll drive along the lake in Avon

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado ” Nottingham Park in Avon is sort of hidden behind buildings and roads, seemingly cutoff from the rest of the town.

Avon leaders hope to change that with the construction of Lake Street later this year. Lake Street will be one of the first major changes to the town as part of its urban renewal, replacing the north to south running West Benchmark Road.

Instead of curving along the east side of the Avon Library and the Recreation Center as Benchmark does now, Lake Street will be built on the west side, running right along Nottingham Park and giving drivers a sweeping view of the park and lake.

Along with giving people easier access to the park, planners say the new street will make it much easier to get around that part of town and help with the town’s renewal. West Benchmark is now a winding, sort of confusing street, like many of the roads in Avon.

“It will feel more like a street, not like a parking lot as it does now,” said engineer Justin Hildreth.

On the north end, the street begins at West Beaver Creek Boulevard. It will take you south and west along the path of the current recreation center parking lot, through the beach volleyball court and through the town hall parking lot. The recreation center, then the library, would be to your left.

Lake Street will intersect with the Benchmark Road, which runs east to west below the Seasons, and will intersect with the future Main Street when it’s built.

The road ends at River Front Lane on the other side of the railroad tracks.

Lake Street should make it easier for people to find and use Nottingham Park, planners say.

Sidewalks will be built on both sides of Lake Street, and there will be angled parking on the road.

Lake Street will also have turn-offs for small parking lots, including an entrance to the Recreation Center, which will have a new parking lot built on its east side.

At the intersection of the future Main Street, you’ll pass through a pedestrian plaza. This is where people on Main Street will be able to cross over to Nottingham Park ” sort of the main entrance.

Here, planners are putting a lot of thought into making everything look nice. Lake Street will be raised about four inches so that it’s at the same level as the walkway.

There will be lots of trees, colored concrete and, sometime in the future, art, a water feature like a fountain, and steps down to the park.

Meanwhile, West Benchmark will disappear. On the south end, the street turn into cul-de-sac in front of the library, and on the northern section, it will dead -end.

It will cost around $4.5 million to build Lake Street. Work will start this spring and should end by the fall, Hildreth said.

Construction of Lake Street is one of the first major changes to Avon as part of its urban renewal.

Avon is hoping to make its downtown more like bustling, modern downtowns you’d find in cities like Denver. It will a be busy, densely developed area where people can live and shop.

The heart of the new downtown will be Main Street, which will be built sometime in 2009.

Main Street will run straight through the center of the town and accessed from the Benchmark and Avon Road roundabout. Traffic will only be one way going west, and you’ll see a lot of people walking, eating and shopping. The west end of Main Street will intersect with Lake Street at Nottingham Park.

Really, this is where Avon will look more like the downtowns you see in larger cities, more like a plaza as opposed to just a street. If needed, it could be closed off for festive events and not effect how people get around town.

Like in most urban towns, residents living downtown would walk to the post office or dry cleaner ” not take a car. Downtown is a close walk away from the Avon Station, the town’s new transit hub, Nottingham Park and the new Gondola at the Westin resort that takes skiers up to Beaver Creek.

If you don’t take a bus to downtown Avon, you could leave your car in the parking garage the town plans to build and walk around for the day.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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