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New Silverthorne site for elementary school to impact traffic

Bill and Nancy van Doorninck, South Forty, Silverthorne

With the plans for a new Silverthorne Elementary School, residents of the Hamilton Creek, South Forty and The Ponds neighborhoods should be concerned.

The fast-moving school project is about to impact your neighborhood road and street traffic – and many of you may be unaware of it.

In one month, the Summit School District Board of Education is preparing to break ground for the elementary school building on the Cottonwood Park site instead of the failed Silver Mountain development site.



The school district has an unopposable right to build on the northern parcel of Cottonwood Park – just south of the sewage treatment plant – deeded to it 18 years ago.

However, its preference is to have the Silverthorne Town Council swap the southern portion of this parcel for the northern part.



The school building and its parking spaces then would be on either side of Hamilton Creek Road. The majority of the town council appears close to voting for this.

The school board intends to convert Hamilton Creek Road into the school’s own entrance, with a traffic light at Highway 9, turn lanes and parking lots on both sides of the road.

The few town council meetings on the subject make it clear too little consideration is being given to neighborhood traffic and safety concerns.

Hamilton Creek Road is a narrow county road, and it is the only access to the South Forty and Hamilton Creek communities.

For this road to become clogged during dropoffs, pickups – and especially during special events – creates safety problems for the schoolchildren and neighborhood residents alike.

To date, the town council and the school board have addressed the neighborhood traffic concerns by proposing a new road connecting Hamilton Creek Road to Highway 9 through The Ponds.

This proposal definitely would complicate the traffic problems for the affected neighborhoods.

The traffic bottleneck on Hamilton Creek Road not only would affect the children’s safety but also endanger the South Forty and Hamilton Creek communities by impeding emergency vehicle access.

Child-safety concerns would be compounded by encouraging foot traffic and illegal parking on the narrow county road to the east of the school.

This road lacks shoulder space or sidewalks. This area is next to the Blue River, which would present an attractive nuisance to schoolchildren.

Neighborhood folks are likely unaware of these developments, because the school board agreed to the town council’s wish to not have the Cottonwood Park site publicized during the previous and protracted negotiations for the Silver Mountain site.

Now that you are aware, you will want to make your objections known immediately both to the school board and the Silverthorne Town Council.

The next council meeting is 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 26, at the Silverthorne Town Hall.

Elected officials must hear from you before then, as well as during the meeting.

Highway 9 along Cottonwood Park is within Silverthorne limits. This fact may allow an entrance on the north end of the parcel.

Some of us have proposed this alternative site access for Cottonwood Park, which would resolve some of our safety and congestion concerns.

However, we need more of you to voice your opinions because the school board and the town council have not adequately considered these access problems.


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