Town board approves additional bicycle projects
At the regular meeting of the Berthoud Board of Trustees on Tuesday night, the board approved a massive, over $2.5 million bike park project on the northwestern side of town, approved allowing bids for additional bike line striping expansions at a cost of $250,000 and amended the municipal code to allow for fines for municipal code violations to be increased to $2,650, up from $900.
The board approved a proclamation read by Mayor Will Karspeck to officially name the newly installed ultrasonic buoy at Berthoud Reservoir “David Buoy.” The town held a contest with broad public participation and input for naming the buoy and the winning name was submitted by Berthoud youngster Georgia Hills, who was lauded by the mayor and trustees and posed for a picture with the board following the announcement. Miss Hills received a signed copy of the proclamation with Mayor Karspeck’s signature and posed for a photo with the Board of Trustees.
During public comment, the board heard feedback from residents regarding the measure set to appear on the November ballot that would allow the board to consider a potential annexation for an expansion of the TPC Colorado Golf Course on the northwestern side of town.
Town Administrator Chris Kirk repeatedly iterated that the measure that will be put before voters in November is not to approve the annexation of the land but rather just to simply allow for the board to consider the annexation should any developer choose to request annexation.
Some citizens who addressed the board stated their desire to have the motion for voter approval for board consideration of annexation withdrawn, which Kirk said was not feasible as it had already been approved.
Kirk further explained that the decision to bring the proposal for voter approval for board consideration of annexation was brought forth and approved at a meeting last month in the interest of expediency, as the county has a hard deadline for getting a measure on the ballot and if the board had delayed, the measure would have been delayed to the next county election in 2023.
The board then heard a presentation from Public Works Operations Manager, Keith Knoll, who provided details regarding the town soliciting bids to complete an expansion of bicycle lane striping project. The information provided to the board stated that expanding bicycle lanes in town will provide greater opportunities for residents and visitors to traverse town using bicycles and other forms to non-automobile transport. Karspeck was enthusiastic in expressing his support for the project saying, “I hope it brings out more (bicyclists).” The board voted 6-0, with Mayor Pro Tem Mike Grace absent, to approve staff’s decision to solicit bids.
Finally, after a months-long process whereby the initial concepts were presented, public feedback, at times passionate, was received and amended plans were developed and presented, the board approved over $2.5 million, at initial cost projections, to build a one-acre bicycle pump track and associated amenities at a large-scale bicycle park in the area of U.S. 287 on the southwestern side of Loveland Reservoir.
Throughout the process, the town has received a great deal of feedback regarding the project – with the majority of those sharing their viewpoints expressing support for the project but objecting to the location and initial access points to the park; residents on and adjacent to Meadowlark Drive were concerned with increased traffic, parking issues, the potential for increased crime, loitering and littering, and the like.
Town staff made some amendments in response to public feedback and presented the board with three options – one with a large bike park that included a full slalom course and amenities, another that was more expansive and added a half-acre asphalt pump track and the final one, the most expansive, which included a one-acre asphalt pump track. Cost estimates ranged from $1.5 million to $2.5 million. The bids were, according to Deputy Town Administrator Jeremy Olinger, “hard bids that are for all intents and purposes as accurate as we can get them for this project.”
While the trustees were largely supportive of the idea of the project, there was some debate regarding the costs and how a project could potentially impact future budgetary decisions. With generations’ high inflation and an economic downturn that has the potential to adversely impact tax revenue, trustees questioned Kirk on the financial feasibility of the various proposals. Kirk stated the town budgets conservatively and has necessary funds for a broad array of recreation amenities, from both the 1998 and 2019 sales tax measures approved by voters, but that the board must prioritize.
Trustee May Soricelli argued that the town should prioritize the proposed enhancements to Town Park in downtown Berthoud, as well as the proposals for Richardson Park which will provide much-needed athletic amenities such as ballfields and multi-use fields for town sports programming.
Soricelli proposed an “option D,” which would build the one-acre, top-of-the-line, pump track, but only after the upgrades to Town and Richardson Parks, which she argued have more broad appeal, were assured. Soricelli’s motion failed for lack of a second and the other five present trustees voted to approve the $2.5 million measure in a 5-1 vote.
The next meeting of the Berthoud Board of Trustees will take place on Sept. 27.
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