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Trustees move ahead on Surls roundabout proposal

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By Lynn Burton

Sopris Sun Staff Writer

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What’ll it be for the center of the
new roundabout at Highway 133 and Main Street?

A specially commissioned piece from
Missouri Heights sculptor James Surls?

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How about a rotating work of art as
part of the town’s on-going Art aRound Town series?

Then there’s always the minimalist
approach — nothing but concrete.

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Those are the three ideas included in a
recent memo from staff to the Carbondale Board of Trustees. At
Tuesday night’s meeting, the trustees made no commitments but voted
to move forward on the Surls concept and also request the Carbondale
Public Arts Commission coordinate community outreach on the project.

The Colorado Department of
Transportation will start its Highway 133 widening project next April
and the most visible component will be a roundabout at the
intersection of Main Street.

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“If we leave the determination to
CDOT, the center of the roundabout would most likely be concrete,”
said town manager Jay Harrington in his memo. He later pointed to the
town’s commitment to art — including Art aRound town, the
Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities and galleries around town —
and said “The staff’s position is that the roundabout should, at
some level, include art as a center piece.”

There are some drawbacks with placing
in the roundabout a piece from the Art aRound Town series, which
invites sculptures to put their work at numerous locations on a 12-18
month basis. For one thing, Harrington’s memo said, any piece of
sculpture will require a foundation that must be designed for the
characteristics of a specific piece. “Changing the art every year
may require the removal and installation of different foundations and
… lighting. The center of a two lane roundabout would be a
difficult area to remove and install on an annual basis.”

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With the nothing-but-concrete option
receiving little if any support, the trustees focused on the Surls
idea on Tuesday night. Private donations would fund the sculpture;
local philanthropist Jim Calaway has said he will spearhead the
drive.

The estimated cost for landscaping the
roundabout, and the sculpture foundation, is $15,000-$20,000.

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“The landscaping can be anything from
drought tolerant native plants … to significant flower beds and
vegetation,” Harrington said. He also pointed out that the trustees
must consider landscape maintenance requirements on Highway 133 and
the roundabout, and “ … Our current staffing levels are not
sufficient to maintain what we currently have. The additional
landscaping (along Highway 133) … would require increased
seasonal/temporary staffing in 2015.”

In other news from
Tuesday night’s trustees meeting:

•  The trustees voted to move ahead
with putting a question on the Nov. 5 ballot, asking residents to
approve a 5 percent sales tax on marijuana sold in licensed
establishments. Towns and counties have the option of allowing or
prohibiting the sale of small amounts of marijuana after Colorado
voters approved Amendment 64 last year. The Carbondale trustees have
said they favor allowing licensed marijuana sales, and are moving
forward with drafting ordinances to regulate the trade. The 5 percent
sales tax would go toward policing marijuana outlets.

• The trustees voted 6-0 to give town
manager Jay Harrington another two-year contract, with a raise to
$120,000 per year.

• Trustees said they will consider
lowering the allowed decibel level at Sopris Park and other venues
from the current 100 to 75, following complaints prompted by the CCAH
concert on Sunday night.

• The trustees instructed staff to
return with a recommendation on how to handle the rodent problem at
the White Hill cemetery.

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