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Snowmass Drive trail moves ahead

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Trustees backed Town staff’s recommendation of the second lowest bid to construct a new pedestrian and bike path between Main Street and Sopris Avenue on the eastern edge of town.

Public Works Director Kevin Schorzman expressed his concerns about the lowest bid at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 22. The application, he said, came in just two days after the project documents were made public, was significantly lower than the other five bids and from a company that appeared to have done mostly smaller projects.

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The next three lowest, however, were all within about 11 percent in terms of cost, close to the original estimate, and seemed more likely to Schorzman to be able to get the work done during summer vacation. As such, Johnson Construction — the same company that worked on Third Street last year — was staff’s choice, and ultimately trustees’.

Meanwhile, Town Manager Jay Harrington noted, “the lower bidder has contacted us and expressed his displeasure with both Kevin and me,” but “we feel good about where we’re at.”

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Other action, trustees…

  • Approved a new liquor license for Izakaya, a “Japanese Pub” associated with Kenichi in Aspen. According to owner Brent Reed, it will involve more “comfort food” than its cousin as, he said, “no one grows up eating sushi.” Keep an eye out for a full story in The Sun in advance of an anticipated June opening.
  • Denied a new medical marijuana license for Rocky Mountain High with a modified application expected.
  • Discussed progress working with other towns to simplify tax codes. “We spent over a year going through the definitions to try to get them standardized,” said Finance Director Renae Gustine. “Colorado’s probably the worst state for sales tax… What we’re trying to do is prove that municipalities can be unified.”
  • Heard from former Trustee Frosty Merriott about how continued efforts in lighting code enforcement and education could benefit the community. “It is just phenomenal what we have here in this town to be able to see the stars.” he said. “Twenty years from now, if you can go out in Sopris Park and show your grandchildren the Seven Sisters, then you’ve done your job.”
  • Weighed options to refinance the Rec. Center bonds issued in 2004 and 2006 for a more favorable interest rate — under 3 percent as compared to the current 5 percent. Coupled with the absence of a reserve fund requirement, Harrington estimated such a move might free up enough cash to upgrade a playground.
  • Appointed Marty Silverstein as mayor pro tem, although Ben Bohmfalk also expressed interest, and selected representatives for various Town and regional boards.
  • Discussed their top priorities, including communication, waste, economical development and affordable housing.
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