Lions Gate Drive Project Continues as scheduled

At the July 12th Special Meeting, Town Council heard from the developers of the Arrow project. They had requested the proposed improvements to Lions Gate Drive be deferred until they were further along with their project. The Town had already entered into an agreement with Anson Excavating and the project was due to begin in the next 4-6 weeks.

At Council’s request, Interim Town Clerk, Stan Zemler, had contacted Anson about potential deferment or contract cancellation. Upon receipt of the requested information, Zemler called for a Special Meeting to discuss the options with Town Council. The result of his findings indicated that, if the Town postpones the project until May 2019, the cost to the Town and Arrow (split 50/50) would be $25,500; and, if they choose to terminate the project and rebid it, the cost would be $104,000 (split 50/50).

Capital Projects and Parks Director, Gerry Vernon, presented the options to the Council. He stated that the options investigated were to either postpone the project until May 2019 by amending the contract with Anson, or, terminate and rebid. Vernon told the Council that the Lions Gate Drive project had been coordinated with Mountain Parks Electric (MPE) and Arrow Development, and, “we would like to see the project continue as scheduled”.

Todd Clausen with MPE told the Council that the project was designed to be done at one time. “The overhead power poles must stay in place until project is completed”, said Clausen. Mayor Jimmy Lahrman asked Clausen “How would this impact their schedule?”. Clausen replied that it “may be delayed, but it is still feasible and easily done”. He added that MPE could also plan ahead for scheduling next spring, if that’s what the town decides.

The project cut is about 1500’ in length, with four crossings along the road, and the centerline to be determined, probably at the edge of pavement. The project goes from McDonald’s to the Post Office, along Lions Gate Drive. If the project is done in two stages, Jersey Barriers would need to be set to protect the switch box, which would result in narrowing the road north of the bridge.

As a contingency, to feed Arrow temporarily, MPE stated they could use the switch box from McDonald’s, which is a very temporary solution. “That leaves the Arrow project on a radial feed and would not be sufficient to power residential property in the project”, said Clausen. It was noted that the asphalt component is the most expensive part of the project.

Jason Williams of Arrow said the normal sequence for a project like this is that curb & gutter, paving and landscaping go in last. “All we are asking is that we have the opportunity to build the building adjacent to the site”, said Williams. “We need to run a lift on the buildings facing Lions Gate Drive during construction and this project would interfere”, said Williams. The building foundations have been poured and they cannot continue the next six months without the MPE contingency plan. They assumed they would patch the trench and the Lions Gate Drive work would be completed on schedule.

Staff stated that they would still need to deal with putting the switch on the corner. The road will shift around this switch. Curb and gutter is associated with the project, so it should be completed together.

Vernon observed that “development continues in town, and if we tried to accommodate every project, we’d never get anything done”. Vernon added that “weekly status meetings with the contractor to coordinate various aspects and avoid any surprises would take place. Talking on a weekly basis will keep this project moving in the right direction”.

The Council discussed a variety of options with MPE, Arrow and Anson Excavating representative, Terry Barber. Finding none of them to be feasible, the Town Council unanimously agreed to move forward with the project as scheduled and directed staff to coordinate with all parties.

Old Town Projects slowly coming to fruition

At the July 17th Town Council Meeting, Old Town representative, Gigi Dominguez, told Council that it was great that capital projects were underway.  But, “it’s taking a long time and the conditions are dusty, which affects bike riders coming through”. She asked the Town for an update. Gerry Vernon told Dominguez that they were hoping to be done first by July 15th with the street lights, signage and bus shelter. The Stage 2 Fire Restrictions prevented them from welding the shelter due to the fire ban. Vernon added that the concrete has been poured, but he didn’t have an exact date of completion. He agreed to send an update to Dominguez and other stakeholders when he had that information. In the meantime, the Town would investigate an option to send the street sweeper through to mitigate the dust. The signage and asphalting on the road cuts continues and it “should come together pretty quickly”. This will help riders coming off the Fraser River Trail. Dominguez also asked whether any flowers would be planted there this summer and Vernon agreed to follow up with the Town’s landscaping staff.

Lakota Tap Fees questioned

Next, a gentleman planning to build in Lakota spoke to the Town Council about what he felt were excessive water tap fees, estimated at between $38,000 – $55,000, depending upon building plans. He told the Council that, normally, these should fall in the range of $14,000 – $20,000. He did not believe the tap fees should be set based upon potential, not actual, usage.

He told the Town Council that “every monopoly needs strict financial regulation”. Citing that Colorado government states finances are governed by Town Council. The Public Utilities Commission has no oversight and the Town Council acts as the PUC in this case. The excessive fees collected have resulted in the district amassing $12 million. He maintained that the Water Company can only do what the Town Council has told them to do. They need to view this as another department that they’re responsible for, learn what it takes to manage a district like this and establish costs for putting the tap in, based on usage, not speculation. He also stated they should issue refunds for old overpayments made in excess of reasonable and should not be collecting prior for capital projects. Instead, they should take a loan and charge back to customers at that time.

Councilman Chris Seemann told him the Staff Engineers at Winter Park Water District #1 should be able to help him understand how the rates are derived. Council requested he attend the next Water District meeting to discuss the matter with the district, which is governed independently from Town.

Ski Idlewild Road improvements forthcoming

A concerned citizen next asked the Council about their plans for Ski Idlewild Road? “Someone is going to be killed back there”. Although street signs say “no parking”, people are still parking along both sides of the roads during events on the weekends, creating difficulty for pedestrians and emergency responders. Town staff stated that there is an expansion to the road coming later this summer. The Town is putting in a storm drain and sewer along the east side of the road, and a parking lane on the west side. They admitted “there’s some pain as to how to manage what we are going through. We want to create an environment where people come and want to stay”.

There are currently no options available for satellite parking, but lodging properties have done a great job explaining the bus schedule and ridership increases during weekend events.

Special Events Permits approved

Shining Stars Half Marathon on August 4th, starts at 8 am and ends at noon. The event starts and ends at Grand Park.

Winter Park Beer Festival on August 4th, from noon to 5 pm. 30+ beer vendors, food, music and art.

Winter Park Fraser Chamber of Commerce had submitted applications for three events: Solshine on August 11, Uncorked on August 18, and, Country at the Park on August 25,  all are ticketed events.

Liquor License Hearing results in two approvals

Stoked Meeting House LLC, located at 78542 US Hwy 40. requested a beer & wine license. The business will cater primarily to the morning and afternoon crowd with a Coffee Shop located in the front, and a candy shop in the back. No comments were received from the public. The business will provide a family-friendly atmosphere, with hot chocolate, beer & wine apres ski. The application was approved unanimously.

Next, WP Liquor LLC dba Riverside owner, Randy Peterson, located at the base of Winter Park Resort at 201 Zephyr Way appeared before the Liquor Authority. The previous owner had moved his liquor store operation to downtown Winter Park in the spring, and Peterson had purchased the establishment and began the licensing process shortly thereafter. No other interested parties appeared. Peterson stated that his plan is to provide guests with adult beverages at the resort. He said he is hoping to open before the end of bike season. No rebuttal or comments were received and the application was approved unanimously.

Town approves new ITS System

When the Town Council meeting resumed, Transit Manager, Michael Koch, asked for approval of the new Transit ITS system: Ride Systems. Koch told the Council that they had received 3 bids, two of which were found to be good options. A check of references made Ride Systems rise to the top to be selected for recommendation for approval.

The primary “selling point” is that the Town is able to design their own app for this new system, which will be available on the app store as The Lift. It will include routes and will simplify searches by riders. Ride Systems will provide MDTs (multi data terminals) and upgraded hardware. Koch stated that reporting will be vastly improved with the new app. They’ll get notice of delays, arrival, etc., resulting in a much improved rider experience. Koch also felt comfortable that the conversion to the new app would be completed by the time RideHop “closes their doors” on September 3rd.

This has impacted the Transit budget as a change in vendors was not budgeted in 2018. The set-up cost for the new app is $59,000 plus an annual cost of $19,800. The Transit Advisory Committee had approved the vendor unanimously.

Ride Systems offers more flexibility. Koch told the Council that the Town of Durango utilized the app and that they are expanding their system right now. “They are very comfortable with them”, said Koch. Ride Systems references showed that they’re flexible with great, responsive customer service. The selection was approved unanimously.

Now, the Town needs to figure out what to do with the supply of iPads acquired to interface with the outgoing RideHop app.

Water & Sanitation looks at metals removal project

Bruce Hutchins with Grand County Water & Sanitation #1 told the Council their biggest thing right now is that the district has been reviewing their tap schedule. “We’ve made some discoveries on usage”, said Hutchins. It’s been 10 years since it was last reviewed and they need to “look at it every year to keep up with budget”. Wastewater treatment is imminent for metals removal. Hutchins explained that the State has changed standards and lowered acceptable amounts, meaning they must build in metals removal. This will cost between $6-9 million across all districts: Fraser, Winter Park Ranch and WP W&S #1.

Chamber Events make for a good summer so far

Winter Park Fraser Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Catherine Ross, told the Council that it has been a good summer so far. Art Affair President, Cheryl Day, had just received the Channel 7 Everyday Hero award, which will be broadcast on July 22. “This was so deserving”, said Ross. Alpine Art Affair vendors had nominated Cheryl. Ross added that anchor Mitch Jelniker spent the night and was planning on coming back for Country in the Park.

JazzFest is near sell-out, so another busy weekend is on the horizon. The ticketed events have spurred a lot of activity on the Chamber’s website, but haven’t yet converted to buying. Bands are also promoting through their websites and they are hopeful this will result in more ticket sales.

Ross told them the Chamber has also been promoting third-party events. “We work hard to help make the events successful”, said Ross. For budget reasons, they decided to cancel the upcoming Adventure Weekend and instead encourage guests and visitors to “Find your own adventure”. The Chamber will provide suggested itineraries, adventure day, with discount coupons and deals at local businesses. FallFest is getting bigger with Kids activities planned at Hideaway Park and Headwaters Center and Rendezvous also “playing with it”.

Ross told the Council that the Town’s Branding project is very close to agreeing on a logo. They are working on a consensus – finalizing the tagline and logo, with the goal of finding something that speaks to the consumer.

Town of Fraser “killing it” with The Drop

During Council updates, Councilman Chris Seemann extended congratulations to the Town of Fraser for the new trash and recycling facility, providing a great resource to the community and visitors. Catherine Ross added that the Pay-as-you-Throw bags are available at the Visitor Center for $8.50 per 40-gallon bag. “We support it and they’ve done a great job”, said Ross.