Dillon moving forward with marina master plan
DILLON – On a summer day in Dillon, it’s not unusual to see cars overflowing from the marina parking lots and lining up along the shoulder of Lodgepole Street as marina patrons, Farmer’s Market shoppers and concert-goers funnel into the town’s prized waterfront area.The cramped parking is becoming an issue, said marina manager Bob Evans.”What’s interesting is these are problems we weren’t seeing a couple years ago,” Evans said, explaining that the increasing popularity of Dillon’s marina-front activities has spurred more traffic.How to fix the parking squeeze is one of several key issues town officials hope to address in drafting a marina master plan this summer.The plan will help guide how the marina and its surrounding area will develop in the future. Other growth issues to be included in the master plan are a possible marina expansion and the potential of adding an additional facility, such as a restaurant or multi-use center, in the area.The town will likely spend about $50,000 to $60,000 out of its marina fund to hire a consultant to work with Evans on the plan, said town manager Jack Benson.The plan will go hand-in-hand with a market research study currently underway by Leland Consultants to offer suggestions on economic revitalization in Dillon, and a comprehensive parks master plan slated to begin this summer, Benson said.Until all three documents are completed, the town council won’t make any big decisions about some of the marina-area issues, such as parking, Benson said.”What’s been discussed before is a closed parking structure as opposed to open parking lots,” Benson said. “What we would try to do is create a structure that is mostly bermed and underground to maintain view corridors.”The structure, if it ever comes to fruition, would replace the tiered, dirt rows of parking directly above the marina.Until a parking solution is determined, Evans said he won’t be able to move forward on a marina expansion.Initial discussions for an expansion include an 80 foot by 300 foot wharf with stairs leading down to the dock ramps. The wharf would cover the dry, cracked lakebed that’s exposed during low water years, and would provide additional space for events and boat storage, Evans said. It would also support an upgraded 10-ton crane to move larger boats.This spring, Evans began the preliminary stages of testing the bedrock to see if the project is feasible. The potential expansion will also depend on cost and the outcome of the master plan, Evans said.Another concept that will likely be open for discussion in the future is the addition of a restaurant or a multi-use facility for reunions, small conferences and weddings near the marina, Benson said.Whether or not a project of that caliber moves forward depends on consultants’ recommendations for the best economic project for the town to pursue that would work as a joint venture between the public and private sectors, he said.The marina master plan, as well as the comprehensive parks plan and the market research study are all expected to be finished by late fall. The council will spend next winter deciding which projects to move forward on and how to fund them, Benson said. That task will be a balancing act for the town council, which will need to consider the wishes of the all stakeholders and constituents in Dillon, including those who may not support change in the town, he added.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at email@example.com.
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