With one of the busiest holiday weekends quickly approaching, Breckenridge is seeking solutions to the town’s worsening congestion problem.
Parking dominated the conversation during Tuesday’s marathon town council work session. Despite months of work by DTJ Design and Nelson\Nygaard consultants, the four-hour discussion was just the beginning of a larger comprehensive transportation plan.
Consultants identified parking management (read: pay parking) and real-time parking information as two solutions with the most potential to reduce peak traffic volume within the town. Creating additional parking spaces downtown might seem like a simple solution, but is actually estimated to increase traffic volume anywhere from 2 to 10 percent, depending on the number of spaces.
Councilmembers expressed interest in building a new parking structure: the question was when and where. While F-Lot was recommended in a 2014 feasibility study, the most recent report by consultants suggested a larger, squarer space would be better.
PICKING A PARCEL
With the passing of Ballot Measure 2A last fall, the town will receive a minimum of $3.5 million toward a parking and transportation fund each year through a 4.5-percent tax levied on Breckenridge Ski Resort lift tickets. The town will begin collecting the tax on lift-ticket presales starting July 1, but it will not affect season passes.
In a turn of events, Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula reported he had discussed purchasing the gondola lots from the ski resort. While there is no agreement on the table, Mamula said he was “cautiously optimistic in the discussions that we’ve already had.”
“They seem pretty open to it and we are trying to come up with a price,” he said.
Breckenridge Ski Resort COO John Buhler did not discuss the potential deal when he approached town council on Tuesday, but maintained the town should push for a solution starting next summer:
“We are very focused on ensuring that the Council proceed with adding significant new skier parking in the core of Town, as was promised during the campaign for the tax last year,” he wrote in an email. “We think the Town should consider any option that accomplishes that goal, but it is critical that design of a project commences in 2016 and construction in the spring of 2017.”
Two week prior, Buhler read a statement before the town, requesting they renew the focus on F-Lotand start the planning process soon. While councilmembers expressed mixed opinions about F-lot as a site, most supported additional parking in the town core.
“Personally, I’m not into hypothetical conversations,” Councilman Mike Dudick said. “I think we should have a conversation with the ski resort quickly to see if there’s a deal.”
He added that additional parking downtown, rather than at the edges, would make for a better customer experience. Councilwoman Elisabeth Lawrence echoed these sentiments.
“It’s the guest experience. If someone wanted to mark me two miles out of town, that’s not what I’m paying for,” she said.
Councilman Mark Burke, however, favored incremental parking in lots currently owned by the town.
“That’s gonna be a tough one for me to swallow,” he said. “I don’t see value in paying to buy the lot from them, and then paying to build additional parking for them.”
The gondola lots were master planned in 2010, outlining concepts for hotels, parking structures, skier services and housing. Between the economic downturn, and Vail Resorts moving away from the real estate business, the lot has just seen improvements with the gondola, limited paving and a bus turnaround.
“There was never really a time frame with any sort of triggers,” Mamula said. “We could potentially do some kind of structure that has affordable housing around it. The options are pretty limitless.”
PAY TO PARK
Breckenridge Mayor Pro-Tem Wendy Wolfe strongly supported parking management prior to building a new structure.
“I think it’s an absolute prerequisite before we can add new parking,” she said. “Consequently, the sooner, the better.”
The key, according to consultants, is charging for parking to manage demand; not for the purpose of profiting.
“This is not your grandma’s paid parking,” Breckenridge town manager Rick Holman said. “This is something that is highly, highly recommended by consultants as one of the most important things we could do.”
“We would start as low as we can, see if we’re making the impact we intend to make, and if not, adjust the prices accordingly,” assistant town manager Shannon Haynes said.
Employee parking was another concern: While having a certain number of hours or certain times free was a possibility, councilmembers also discussed permitting. For example, the town could retain employee parking away from heavily-trafficked visitor areas, or charge more for permits in lots closer to Main Street.
“I don’t think it’s right to charge more or start charging for people without giving an alternate option,” Councilwoman Erin Gigliello said.
Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron voiced his agreement, adding the town should improve transit options if employee parking is affected. In his previous term on council, Bergeron did not support paid parking downtown.
“I’m in favor of it with reluctance,” he said. “I think the time has come. I liked this place better in the ’70s.”
For decades, summer has been the offseason for ski resorts — busy with maintenance and on-mountain upgrades, but not nearly as bustling as in winter, when skiers flock and staffs swell.
That changes this week, when Vail Resorts, the continent’s largest resort operator, opens its new Epic Discovery summer projects at flagship Vail Mountain and at Heavenly, near Lake Tahoe in California.
After pushing for federal legislation allowing more year-round recreation at ski areas on U.S. Forest Service land, Vail on Tuesday officially unveils the new face of the ski resort industry. And that face is no longer goggle-tanned.
Vail’s $25 million summer investment is designed to turn its ski areas into 12-month playgrounds, with mountain coasters, ziplines, aerial adventure courses and more hiking and biking trails. All of it stems from the 2011 Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, which allows the Forest Service greater leeway when approving projects at resorts that initially were designed for downhill skiing.
Vail’s $25 million summer investment is designed to turn its ski areas into 12-month playgrounds, with mountain coasters, ziplines (and) aerial adventure courses.
To read the full version, Click the Summit Daily News Link above.
Work on the blueprint for Summit County’s hallmark workforce-housing project continues, and the primary decision-makers and their design firm are again coming to the community for advice.
County officials have called the almost 45-acre Lake Hill property — located northeast of Frisco between Dillon Dam Road and Interstate 70 — a defining residential enterprise and now, as they move forward in the master plan process, desire further local input. They’ll host a second open house concerning the site Wednesday, June 29, to take thoughts on next steps in order to influence conceptual plans.
“This will be kind of the first meeting where there are some ideas on paper that start to provide options for how the property could be developed,” said Kate Berg, Summit County senior planner. “These are just the very first drafts of our ideas, so they’re certainly not set in stone. That’s why it’s really important for people to come and take a look and give us feedback.”
Housing in Summit — and throughout the mountain resort communities — that is both available and affordable remains a hot commodity. It’s why when the county was able to acquire the Lake Hill site from the White River National Forest late last year through a complex federal process that even required President Obama sign off on the purchase, it jumped at the chance.
“The needs are so large in the county,” Gary Martinez, county manager, previously told the Summit Daily. “We really need to challenge ourselves to make this the best we can possibly have, to maximize the value.”
So constructing this vital swath of land, which cost the county $1.75 million, into its most useful end-product is what everyone has on their minds. After the formation of a stakeholder advisory committee, assemblage of focus groups and the first open house in April — now having interacted with no fewer than 250 people — the county is ready show off its wares.
The pair of layouts on display Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at the Summit Community and Senior Center in Frisco (83 Nancy’s Pl.) will show similar design plans but with some important tweaks. Their primary differences are the division of space for multi-family versus single-family homes, and the amount of parking needed to correspond with that degree of development. Essentially, more units means more parking.
“The two concepts show the same overall road network,” said Berg, “but they just show different ways of building out the neighborhood within this overall framework. People can see that if we end up doing more multi-family, this is what it’s likely going to look like; if we end up doing less multi-family and more lower-density, single-family and townhomes, this is what it will look like. And people can tell us what’s there preference — what do they think is more appropriate for the site.”
One plan imagines 403 total units, 255 of which would be multi-family apartments, while the other fits in another 27 units for a total of 430, where 340 are stacked apartment-style living. Both draft designs emphasize a large greenbelt running through them for full public use as well as a centralized community center with potential child care, estimated at 12,000-square feet.
The 73 surveys from about 150 attendees at the April open house showed the public’s desire for mixed-income neighborhoods and both rental and ownership options, as well as styles of homes. Concerns over parking and traffic, particularly on the Dam Road, in addition to the availability of amenities like storage and laundry and access to open spaces, the area trails system and regional transit were consistent requests.
That assisted the architectural minds at Norris Design in Frisco with coming up with a group of guiding principles in which to divvy up the land. Keeping the Lake Hill property compatible with other area structures and also creating the greatest possible benefits for the greatest number of people — all while keeping it affordable to a variety of economic levels — are chief among them.
In the time since that first open house, Corum Real Estate Group and its consortium of partner organizations have also been studying the land extensively, recognizing that just better than 45 percent of the property is unusable predominately due to its gradient; so how the space that is viable is erected is that much more important. With approximately two parking spaces per unit and 30 percent dedicated to open space, as laid out, only about 7 percent will go toward actual housing structures.
“They’ve really been analyzing the site,” added Berg, “looking at the topography, looking at all of the studies that have been done. The plans that we’ve laid out have taken into account all these aspects that we need to think about, as far as the slope, as far as the water and sewer capacity and the traffic needs and all of that.”
After a final infrastructural estimate is set by July 1, the next question once the design plan itself is settled upon by no later than September is how to phase the massive project and whether to install infrastructure first or do that in stages, as well. From the county’s perspective though, the sooner units are move-in ready, however, the better.
There’s also the matter of some additional land to the east of the property — the so-called “Lake Hill II” — that the Forest Service still owns, but the county may also be able to pry from the federal agency. Summit has already expressed its initial interest in obtaining this adjacent acreage if possible, and a collaborative effort between the two may ultimately be what develops that area, too. For now, the current master plan keeps open the option open for a road to connect through the two.
That’s a potential path to be traveled at a later point. Meanwhile, the county encourages residents to show up on Wednesday in Frisco to once more help in steering the build out of their local community with developments in the Lake Hill design process.
“At this stage of the game,” said Berg, “we just want people to see what we have done with the input they’ve given us. We would like to get the community’s direction on whether or not we are on the right track.”
“This landscape is unlike anything I have ever seen. How inadequate are my words....” That was written 150 years ago next Saturday (July 2, 1866) by Bayard Taylor, famous travel writer whose trips had spanned the world, including the Alps. He was astride his pony on Ute Pass, above the Lower Blue River, looking straight west into the heart of the Gore Range, and what would become, more than a century later, the Crown Jewel of Summit County, Eagles Nest Wilderness. The trip is described in Taylor’s book “Colorado: A Summer Trip.”
Three “Friends of …” organizations — Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness (FENW), Friends of the Lower Blue River (FOLBR), and Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD) — will host a sesquicentennial celebration Saturday morning, July 2, at 9 a.m. on Ute Pass (map athttp://www.fenw.org/img/map_utepass.jpg). They are billing it as a refreshing and inspiring way to start your July Fourth Holiday Weekend, with a spectacular, panoramic view of the Gores, readings from Bayard Taylor’s book, “Colorado: A Summer Trip,” other quotes that celebrate wilderness and the rural lifestyle of the Lower Blue River Valley, and a special guest. Colorado poet Erin Robertson will read her composition, commissioned especially for this event.
The program will begin at 9 a.m. after light breakfast refreshments. Hosted by Summit County sages Currie Craven and Sam Kirk.
8:30 a.m.: coffee, fruit & pastries, meet & greet
9 a.m.: Welcome, invocation, introductions
*Sam Kirk will read from “Colorado: A Summer Trip,” by Bayard Taylor.
*Readings from the audience. Bring your favorite quote about Wilderness or the rural life (keep it short, please), or choose one from several dozen that will be available.
*Colorado poet Erin Robertson will read her composition, especially commissioned for today.
AN EXCERPT FROM “COLORADO: A SUMMER TRIP,” BY BAYARD TAYLOR
Background: (A map of the entire trip is at www.fenw.org/img/map_1866trip.jpg.) Over Berthoud Pass and down the Colorado River through the heart of Middle Park they rode, and then up the Williams Fork River, following an old Ute Indian trail, crossing on July 2, 1866, the Williams Fork Mountains at what was then and is now Ute Pass — exactly 150 years to the day before our July 2 celebration. The party descended part way down from Ute Pass into the Blue River Valley before the full panoramic view appeared.
“From the top [of Ute Pass] we looked down a narrow, winding glen, between lofty parapets of rock, and beheld mountains in the distance, dark with shadow, and vanishing in clouds. The descent was steep, but not very toilsome. After reaching the bed of the glen, we followed it downward, through beds of grass and flowers, under the shade of castellated rocks, and round the feet of natural ramparts, until it opened upon wide plains of sage-brush, which formed the shelving side of an immense valley. The usual line of cotton-wood betrayed a stream, and when we caught a glimpse of the water, its muddy tint — the sure sign of gold-washing [in Breckenridge] — showed that we had found the Blue River. We had crossed the Ute Pass, as it is called by the trappers, and are among the first white men who have ever traversed it. We now looked on Park [Ute] Peak from the west side.
“Instead of descending to the river, our trail turned southward, running nearly parallel with its course, near the top of the sloping plane which connects the mountains with the valley. The sun came out, the clouds lifted, and rolled away, and one of the most remarkable mountain landscapes of the earth was revealed to our view. The Valley of the Blue, which, for a length of thirty miles, with a breadth varying from five to ten, lay under our eyes, wore a tint of pearly silver-gray, upon which the ripe green of the timber along the river, and the scattered gleams of the water seemed to be enameled. Opposite to us, above this sage color, rose huge mountain foundations, where the grassy openings were pale, the forests dark, the glens and gorges filled with shadow, the rocks touched with lines of light — making a chequered effect that suggested cultivation and old settlement. Beyond these were wilder ridges, all forest; then bare masses of rock, streaked with snow, and, highest of all, bleak snow-pyramids, piercing the sky.
“From south to north stretched the sublime wall — the western boundary of the Middle Park; and where it fell away to the canyon by which Grand [Colorado] River goes forth to seek the Colorado, there was a vision of dim, rosy peaks, a hundred miles distant [Flat Tops]. In breadth of effect — in airy depth and expansion — in simple yet most majestic outline, and in originality yet exquisite harmony of color, this landscape is unlike anything I have ever seen. I feel how inadequate are my words to suggest such new combinations of tints and forms.”
Those are pretty potent words from a man who had traveled — and described — the world, including the Alps. The party next moved on upstream along the Blue River to what is now submerged under Lake Dillon, then on to Breckenridge, and over Hoosier Pass to South Park, over to the Arkansas River Valley via Mosquito Pass, and back (via South Park and Kenosha Pass) to Denver.
A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE
Bayard Taylor wrote “Colorado: A Summer Trip” in 1866. John Wesley Powell first climbed Mt. Powell two years later, in 1868 (the year before his first descent of the Grand Canyon), the trans-continental railroad completed three years later, in 1869, and Mark Twain published “Roughing It” six years later, in 1872.
ABOUT BAYARD TAYLOR
Bayard Taylor was a prolific travel writer, lecturer, novelist and a poet. He was born in 1825 in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. At the age of 19, he set sail for London; the two-year grand tour not only served as Taylor’s college education but also determined his new career. Although his true passion was poetry, he learned early that he could earn more money by writing prose.
In 1850, Taylor married a childhood friend, Mary Agnew. She died only two months after their marriage, leaving Taylor bereaved and anxious to travel again in order to cope with his grief. He went on a two-year trip to Arabia.
During the Civil War, Taylor served as Washington correspondent for the NY Tribune until 1862, when he was appointed secretary to the U.S. Minister at St. Petersburg, Russia.
In 1866, Taylor traveled to Colorado and took a strenuous loop trip through the northern mountains on horseback with a group that included William Byers, founder of Denver’s Rocky Mountain News. His letters describing this adventure were later published as “Colorado: A Summer Trip.” During this decade, Taylor published 11 works and delivered more than 600 lectures (including in every mining town visited on this trip).
Taylor’s deep interest in German life and literature (especially Goethe) culminated in his appointment as Minister to Prussia in 1878. Sadly, he suffered repeated illnesses, and died in December 1878. “Colorado: A Summer Trip” is available for $2 at Amazon Kindle.
Bill Betz is a volunteer with Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness.
Breckenridge Town Council members dug their shovels into the earth for the groundbreaking of Denison Placer, the site of two planned affordable housing projects. Just moments later, they crossed the street to celebrate the opening of Pinewood Village II, an income-restricted apartment complex over a decade in the making.
“Literally a year ago, we had a groundbreaking ceremony on this site,” said Tim Casey of Mountain Marketing Associates, Ltd. “It’s ahead of schedule, on budget and 100-percent leased thanks to the people here today.”
Casey stepped aside to thank former mayor John Warner and former town manager Tim Gagen, for their efforts to acquire the 2.7-acre parcel from the U.S. Forest Service in 2012. He also thanked both the current and previous town councils, adding, “Because of their insight, and desire to create affordable housing and a sustainable community, we are here today.”
The new apartment complex will feature nine studio apartments and 36 one-bedroom apartments for residents earning up to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). Located on Airport Road, the building is just across the street from the Breckenridge Recreation Center, and a short jaunt from the grocery store and Upper Blue Elementary School.
“It’s the perfect location. I’m thrilled,” Breckenridge mayor pro-tem Mark Burke said. “I happen to know people moving in here and they’re even more thrilled than we are.”
Already sold out completely, the first 16 residents will move in on July 1, just one week after Friday’s grand opening.
“It was great to see our workforce constructing it and now our workforce moving in,” Breckenridge councilwoman Elisabeth Lawrence said. “We should be so proud of this.”
Breckenridge town manager Rick Holman noted the project was the first low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) funded project the town had done since building its predecessor, Pinewood Village I. With the groundbreaking on Denison Placer, the town is again seeking LIHTC credits for one of two projects at the site, located north of Upper Blue Elementary.
The first project, which broke ground on Friday, will feature 30 studio units at 80-percent AMI. Next to that, the second project is planned for two- to three-bedroom townhomes set at 30 to 60 percent AMI. The town has already applied for 9-percent tax credits, which would cover $12 to $13 million of project costs, but they won’t find out if they will receive them until August, at the end of this summer’s construction season.
“We’re trying to hit everything,” long-range planner Laurie Best said, adding that they hoped to “bring in families who would not have a home in Breckenridge.”
The town acquired the 254-acre parcel jointly with the Summit County School District in 2002, and the Block 11 vision plan was adopted in 2006.
Since then, the area has seen the addition of Colorado Mountain College, Timberline Learning Center and the Breckenridge Police Department.
“That was all part of the Block 11 plan,” Best said.
Energy efficient light bulbs, low-flow water fixtures and how best to clean refrigerator condenser coils aren’t the most engrossing topics for discussion.
“It’s definitely not glamorous,” acknowledged Cody Jensen, energy program manager for the High County Conservation Center in Frisco, “but it’s super important. That’s the biggest challenge I think we have as energy people, just getting people engaged. There’s definitely a little disinterest.”
It’s this point of view from many local business owners that resulted in a lightly attended commercial energy efficiency workshop on Thursday morning, June 23, at the community center in Breckenridge. The free event, hosted by the Conservation Center, better known as HC3, and Xcel Energy was intended to help Summit County enterprises save a little bit toward their bottom lines while also supporting the environment.
“If a business doesn’t feel like its energy bills are exorbitant,” said Jess Hoover, HC3 program manager, “it might not feel impelled to reduce its usage, even though it could have an impact. You can afford it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to minimize your usage.”
But to combat some of this possible contentedness, Xcel and HC3 have teamed on the former’s Partners In Energy community program. The goal is to inform businesses of all sizes about rebate initiatives that could be conserving vital resources and saving vendors money.
“People ask me all the time, ‘Why would you pay people for your customer sales reps to sell less of your product?’” explained Xcel’s John Schneider at Thursday morning’s meeting. “The reason is that we’re required by the Public Utilities Commission to have these programs in place. It’s also the right thing to do from an environmental standpoint, and it allows us to build less power plants.”
Where the disconnect often occurs, say the experts, is in the dispersal of consistent and accurate details to help people make more informed energy decisions for their homes and their companies. And unless something drastic changes with costs, advancements in the industry or specific components, people simply stop paying attention.
“They just get complacent,” said Jensen. “But what I don’t think they realize is technology … is changing so rapidly. They just don’t know that things are getting better, getter cheaper. That’s what so much of this is about — just conveying the message and getting people to understand what exists.”
As part of those continued efforts, HC3 and Xcel are hosting the county’s first-ever Summer Energy Fair on Friday, June 24, at the Frisco Transit Center. There, Summit residents can show between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to receive up to 20 LED light bulbs per household, as well as learn about other ways to save on utility bills. A total of 5,000 bulbs will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis.
HC3’s larger goals through the Partners In Energy program is to help the local community reach goals of tripling the level of energy savings by the end of 2017. That, and assisting the county meet its 2011 Energy Action Plan objective of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2020 after previously losing course on that aim a bit the last handful of seasons.
“We have a really concerted, two-year effort to get us back on track to meeting the goals that were established in the initial plan,” said Hoover. “When we think about achieving these energy reductions, we love the participation of the small stores, but we need everyone in the Summit County community to get involved. We need grocery to get involved, we need resorts, we need multifamily property to get involved.”
While 15 percent over decades-long period may not sound like much, especially with how quickly new efficiencies evolve, what’s slightly deceptive is that reduction is paired with the population growth Summit County is currently experiencing. The idea of those action plan goals is to keep them at an achievable level, which would help the community even reverse some of the negative environmental impacts that it had previously embarked upon.
These conservation leaders emphasized the fact that whether full-time resident, second-home owner, annual visitor or even first-time guest, everyone plays a role in maintaining the beautiful scenery we all come to enjoy in the mountains.
“We have such a tourist draw to come here and see this,” said Hoover, “and yet, it can present a big environmental impact. So we want to be seen as environmentally forward-thinking, as stewards of the environment to set an example for our community and for people that come here — that this is something that’s important us, and we want it to be important to you, too.”
“We’re so focused on the environment,” added Jensen, “our industries here are so reliant on it that it needs to be a focus. If we’re not a leader, then what kind of community should be?”
As if catching a fish wasn’t already one of the more exciting outdoor experiences, now state officials are baiting the hook with a $20 bill.
Through a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), licensed anglers in the state need only to secure a northern pike at Green Mountain Reservoir to collect a couple sawbucks. No fish stories here — lucky individuals who feel the tug of the invasive species need only surrender the head at nearby Heeney Marina to collect. That means you still get to keep the meat.
“What I’m hoping is that people hear about this, and they give pike fishing a try,” said Jon Ewert, aquatic biologist for CPW. “We’d like the anglers to give it everything they’ve got to try to harvest as many as they can.”
The pike is a carnivorous fish that can live as long as seven years, typically growing to lengths of between 30-and-40 inches. Many who fish view it as a first-rate sporting species, but, in lakes where it’s viewed as a nuisance, it can gobble up more than its fair share of the resident populations. The issue has become so rampant that this year CPW is opting to abstain from supplying Green Mountain with trout — approximately 20,000-to-30,000 annually at a cost of upwards of $50,000 — for the first time in the reservoir’s history dating to its completion in 1943.
“Think of a lake as almost a giant aquarium,” said Ewert. “What we end up with is essentially a northern pike feedlot, where we’re stocking trout all throughout our system and the pike are eating them. They’re extremely voracious predators. It is an extremely inefficient and, frankly, irresponsible use of anglers’ license dollars.”
A single pike, he estimated, can equate to several hundred dollars of loss. And, after its illegal introduction into Green Mountain since at least 2012 when the breed was first discovered there, it’s begun reproducing to problematic levels.
Net surveys conducted by CPW at Green Mountain jumped from one or two pike the first three years of study, but exploded to 17 in 2015. One of the biggest concerns is that if a large number of the unwelcome guests make it further downstream into the Blue River and then eventually to the Colorado River — already a place where CPW sometimes receives reports of people catching pike — it could dramatically impact state efforts with four specific endangered native fish: the Colorado pikeminnow, humpack chub, razorback sucker and the bonytail.
“We don’t want to have that be a possibility at all,” explained Ewert. “It’s a long ways down, but we don’t want to roll the dice and take that chance. And, if you catch a pike in the Colorado River, please keep it. Do not under any circumstances return that pike to the Colorado River.”
Trophy-level pike fishing is already available at Williams Fork Reservoir, near the town of Parshall in Grand County, but individuals have now injected pike into both Green Mountain and the Wolford Mountain Reservoir north of Kremmling, also in Grand. So, to combat this unlawful act, CPW came up with the incentive program to offer money to anglers who help them purge these trout waterways of pike.
The Wolford initiative was launched in 2008 and resulted in a peak catch year of about 120 pike in 2011. Today, it’s difficult to catch one, though the $20 bounty carries on. The program will be in place at Green Mountain for no fewer than three fishing seasons, and the program will be honored there this year until the marina closes on Sept. 30.
Until then, June remains high time for pike fishing, and, so far, fishermen have turned over 12 this season, said Heeney Marina owner Jordan Miller. As summer temperatures rise in July and August, pike catch rates usually decline a bit but tend to increase against as the water cools back down in September and October.
Rather than rainbow, brown or native lake trout — all of which can still be had at Green Mountain, though to varying degrees because of the pike problem — this burly breed requires larger bait, lures and wire leaders because their sharp teeth can cut through standard fishing line. But with these handful of tips for anglers, CPW is hopeful that, like at Wolford before it, Green Mountain Reservoir can get back to its intended purpose.
“We want them in one place, and one place only,” said Ewert. “That’s the thing, you can never be sure that you get every fish out of the lake. But you can get them down to a level where the population isn’t overwhelming the lake, where they’re rare and hard to find. That’s kind of the goal.”
As the temperatures outside begin to heat up, Summit’s real estate market is coming to a simmer. This May’s real estate sales outpaced 2015’s by a small margin, bringing in a few more sales — and a few more dollars — than last year.
“We’re seeing an increase in sales. We’re seeing more deeds than we have two year ago,” Summit County Assessor Beverly Breakstone said.
However, the region-wide slump in inventory has continued into the spring, with few properties up for sale and increased demand taking them off the market quickly.
“We have a big [lack] of available inventory compared to last year, from what I hear,” said Brooke Roberts, director of sales and marketing with Land Title Guarantee Company.
According to Sotheby’s International Realty, May brought in a handful more listings than April. In Breckenridge, Sotheby’s reported 126 listings for the month of May; 54 in the Dillon/Keystone area, 49 in Silverthorne and 13 in the Frisco/Copper area.
Land Title reported a total of 170 residential sales for the month of May, with a three percent increase in the monetary volume for all recorded transactions year-to-date. The number of top-dollar sales, valued over $1 million, also saw a significant jump from last year.
FROM HOSPITALS TO GALLERIES
May’s top sale went to a real estate trust, which purchased the combined structures of the Peak One Surgery Center and Flight For Life helicopter hangar through a $6.68 million special warranty deed. The purchase was part of a large sale by Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the primary sponsors of Centura Health, selling a total of more than $700 million in property to Milwaukee-based Physician Realty Trust (NYSE: DOC).
“This transaction allows us to rebalance our owned and leased real-estate portfolio and strengthen our balance sheet,” CHI chief financial officer Dean Swindle said in a statement. “We have sharpened our operational and financial focus through a more-strategic management of these properties.”
A manager confirmed that Peak One Surgery Center, a joint venture between local surgeons and St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center, will not see any change in operations related to the transaction.
“Nothing about the use of this building will change,” said Eric Hubler, media relations specialist for Centura Health. “It’s simply that the occupants will be paying rent to a different owner.”
Breakstone confirmed the sale did not include the land, which is owned by Summit County and was purchased through a land trade with the U.S. Forest Service.
While the final sale was significantly higher than the property’s assessed value, Breakstone said an operational business and medical equipment would add value.
“When you sell these kinds of things, it’s not just the real estate,” she said. “It’s something that’s operating, up and has revenue. It has far more value than the structure itself.”
Another notable commercial sale for May included five commercial condominium units in the Bighorn Center in Silverthorne. The property, which was purchased for $4.68 million, will host an art gallery planned by a local developer.
TOP SALES FOR MAY
$6.68 million — Commercial sale, Metes and Bounds Subdivision
$4.68 million — Commercial sale, Bighorn Center Condo Subdivision
$3.78 million — Residential sale, Four O’Clock Subdivision
$2.61 million — Residential sale, Boulder Ridge Subdivision
$2.45 million — Residential sale, Hamilton Creek Subdivision
That’s the hope of Summit County anyway, after officials hosted members of Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the White River National Forest and other area stakeholders for a Monday afternoon jaunt down its proposed Fremont Pass Recreation Pathway. As part of the selection process for receiving state lottery revenue, GOCO officials will visit each of the applicant sites as it makes its funding decisions.
“Everyone needs money,” said Jason Lederer, resource specialist for Summit County Open Space & Trails, “this project’s no different. This is a good opportunity to get out on the ground.”
The county already received $75,000 from GOCO in April to help pay for conceptual planning and the environmental analysis process for the Fremont project and will now compete with seven other proposals for part of a $10 million pot to be awarded in early October. The county requested $2 million for the 3-mile stretch that stands to connect the Tenmile Canyon path at Copper Mountain and end at State Highway 91 south of Graveline Gulch.
Working in the county’s favor is the fact that the Fremonth Recpath was named to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s “Colorado the Beautiful: 16 in 2016” list in January. The initiative intends to identify the most important trail gaps around the state to help expedite their completion for expanded outdoors opportunities.
“This project is pretty apparent just to get people off the road.”Jake Houston GOCO local government program manager
Currently, many see portions of the Fremont Pass cycling space along Highway 91 as dangerous. Shoulders at a particular segment south of the Climax Mine, where 18-wheeler traffic can be frequent, are referred to as “The Narrows” because they are so tapered that little room exists on the two-lane road (one each direction) for shared use between bicycles and the heavy haulers.
Officials noted Monday during the small group tour that the byway is a high-use area for riders, with a number of summer rides and races coming through. Today it’s used strictly by “the 1-percenters” — those who are deemed rabid devotees to the sport — and not many families because of the safety implications.
“I know I wouldn’t ride it,” said Jake Houston, GOCO local government program manager. “This project is pretty apparent just to get people off the road.”
The county has therefore re-imagined a protected and paved path, 12-feet wide with 2-foot shoulders on each side, west of the highway beyond Tenmile Creek where the space is presently a pathway for occasional stream crossings and primarily used as a utility maintenance area for underground gas and overhead power lines. The stretch was previously a historic railroad track for mining, where old rail ties can still be spotted in the creek, but has been closed off since at least the 1930s.
Two areas of concern mentioned in initial environmental impact documents filed by the U.S. Forest Service note potential conflicts with known electronic-collared lynx who use the swath of land as habitat, in addition to protected wetlands in sections of the strip. That process is ongoing and the county’s Open Space & Trails division hopes to meet mitigation requirements with respect to these issues, while striking a balance in the project of recreational opportunities, safety and environmental benefits.
Should the county eventually receive Forest Service approval through its environmental study process, the search for funding streams would then become real. And receiving upwards of $2 million from GOCO would go a long way toward realizing the project an estimated three years down the line.
“The governor’s designation provides a lot of leverage for funding,” said Lederer. “That level of support is really critical and it really helps the decision-makers make decisions. It’s an exciting time for the project.”