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Ice, snow update tops weekly report

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Sopris Sun Staff Report

Ice and snow, and continuing unseasonably warm temperatures, were the leading issues in Town Manager Jay Harrington’s Dec. 26 memo to the town’s employees, board of trustees and other recipients.

“The streets and parks crews have been dealing with snow and ice issues from the last storm,” Harrington reported, detailing the use of “scoria … a product obtained from volcanic ash [and] an inert substance that does not contain silica or other harmful substances” to provide traction for motorists at intersections.

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Concerning ice, Harrington wrote that the town’s two ice rinks remained closed last week, due to the warm temperatures and to the blanket of snow that fell around Christmas time.

Reached on Monday, Harrington said town crews would be working on both rinks and expressed the hope that at least the in-town rink, at the corner of 4th and Main streets, would be open this week, but noted that the Gus Darien Riding Arena rink would require more work and might not open this week.

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“We need several days of super cold temperatures to make sure the ice is ready,” Harrington told The Sopris Sun, adding that a period of cold weather was forecast for the area this week.

Harrington also reported that the initial draft of the first three chapters of the town’s 10-year Parks, Recreation and Trails master plan has been delivered by Design Workshop to the parks department and town staff.

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Staff, as well as the members of the board of trustees and two volunteer boards, will be reviewing and editing the draft document over the next few weeks, and are expected to make recommendations regarding any changes needed before further review.

The draft documents, Harrington noted, include an executive summary, the introduction, a chapter on existing conditions and needs, and community input from a series of meetings and hearings earlier in the year.

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Most important, Harrington wrote, will be a work session with the volunteer Parks and Recreation Commission and the Bike, Pedestrian & Trails Commission, on Jan. 20, for the town’s first official look at the fourth chapter of the document, “Recommendations.”

The memo stated that the finance department has reported that, as of Dec. 26, sales tax receipts (for sales in November) were about 3.2 percent higher than for the same month in 2013, even though there were “a few sales tax returns outstanding” at that point.

Harrington reported that, overall, it appears the town’s sales tax revenues for 2014 will be 8.3 percent higher than those of 2013.

An appeal of a recent Planning & Zoning Commission approval for a redevelopment plan at 191 Sopris Ave. has been formally put before the Carbondale Board of Trustees, and a public hearing on that appeal has been scheduled for Jan. 27. The hearing is a quasi-judicial proceeding, and Harrington wrote that the redevelopment proposal “should now be considered an active land use application to be reviewed” by the trustees. Had the appeal not been filed, the P&Z decision would have been the final approval needed by the developers.

In his summary of Carbondale Police Department activities for last week, Harrington noted there was one “attempted assault on one of our officers” that resulted in no injuries, either to the officer or to the alleged assailant, and that “Christmas was nice and quiet for the police department.”

Regarding the town’s ongoing effort to reduce water use and wastewater flows through the local systems, Harrington reported that the utilities department is installing equipment to “trim water usage at the wastewater facility” by changes in the timing and flow of sprayers in the aeration basin of the wastewater plant.

Overall, he noted, there has been “no significant change in flows from our base line average for water use and waste over Christmas,” because Carbondale typically does not get “the major spikes (in use) that the resort communities experience over the holidays.”

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