After several years of planning and pursuing funding, work is set to begin in the Crystal River at Riverfront Park. A new automated headgate for the Weaver Ditch was already installed. Photo by Raleigh Burleigh

Carbondale trustees tackled a diverse agenda on May 23. All were present, with Chris Hassig joining remotely, though Erica Sparhawk left early citing “family obligations.”

The unanimously-approved consent agenda included a special event liquor license for Coventure, a license renewal for Izakaya, the modified Meadowood school district housing agreement, appointment of Heather MacDonald to the Historic Preservation Commission and outdoor summer seating for the Black Nugget.

During public comments, several neighbors of the Gus Darien Arena expressed concerns about the Mexican rodeos scheduled for June 11, July 16, Aug. 20 and Sept. 24. Specifically, they asked how traffic, parking, noise and security will be managed. “We want to make sure there’s not going to be any problems,” said Bob Myers, resident of Willow Lane.

Parks and Rec Director Eric Brendlinger briefly assured them that the Mexican Rodeo, with its new promoter, will abide by a facility use agreement which specifies these things.

The first official item on the agenda was a new liquor license for 358 Main Street, formerly Batch Provisions. “When Batch left, I felt a huge void on Main Street,” said Mike Arnold, owner of this and the neighboring building which houses Brass Anvil. Arnold enlisted Aly Sanguily and Chase Engel, who owned and operated Batch, to assist with putting together something new “to return some of the funk to Main Street,” said Arnold. “I’m invested in town and want to do something cool.”

Asked about the name, he told trustees that “there are a couple of names out there, but I think the winner is El Dorado.” He said the new bar will be similar to Batch, serving wine, beer and cocktails, plus a few food items. Approval was unanimous.

Next, Andrew Michaelson, director of property development with Artspace, gave the trustees an update on Town Center. A request for proposals issued in March yielded six qualified candidates, he said. Of the six, Jv DeSousa, based in Boulder, and Bldg Seed Architects, based in Carbondale, were selected to work in tandem. “Both brought strong elements in different ways,” said Michaelson. Beginning in June, Artspace will meet with the team on-site to begin the design process including public outreach. 

Moving along, trustees interviewed Cindy Suplizio to serve as an alternate on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Suplizio was born and raised in Grand Junction and has lived in Carbondale “off and on” for the past 30 years. She previously served on the commission and has worked as an engineer and educator. Suplizio’s approval was unanimous, as well as moving Kade Gianinetti from first alternate to a voting seat.

Trustees then heard an update regarding the Crystal River Restoration Project, which will involve in-stream and riparian work along a half-mile stretch known as Riverfront Park. Improvements will include deepening the river channel for fish habitat and enhancing access with an ADA-compliant ramp and an outdoor classroom, among other features.

Quinn Donnelly, project manager and river engineer with River Restoration, told the trustees that in-stream work will begin mid-July. Riverfront Park will soon close to the public to allow for work along the banks.

The meeting proceeded with a Memorandum of Understanding between the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo (CWWR) nonprofit and the Town. According to Mike Kennedy, CWWR board president, they have invested $120,000 into the facility over the past 18 years. Given the rodeo’s popularity, changes have been made to accommodate its growth. The event is no longer BYOB — a vendor has been contracted to sell booze — and parking now has a fee, though there’s a free shuttle from The Orchard. You can find details at ahead of the season’s first rodeo, June 1. 

Then, trustees signed onto a letter requesting that the Colorado Department of Transportation facilitate conversations around regional transportation solutions in Garfield County (projected to grow from 62,000 residents to 86,000 in 2040). Approval was unanimous.

The meeting concluded with changes to make boards and commissions more uniform, each with three-year terms that begin June 1 and conclude May 31. This way, recruitment could happen all at once with an open house in March of each year. Most boards and commissions would have seven regular members and the option of one or two alternates, plus an optional non-voting youth representative. Only two total members of each may live outside town limits. If a member misses more than three consecutive meetings, or more than 30% of all meetings, they will be referred to the trustees for possible removal.