Town seeks ideas for McCain land |

Town seeks ideas for McCain land

BRECKENRIDGE – The Breckenridge Town Council will hold a meeting Thursday night to solicit ideas for possible amenities on Block 11 land and the new McCain open space parcel the town purchased in November.

The town acquired the 102.7-acre McCain property, located just north of County Road 3 alongside Highway 9, from Alta McCain for $1.05 million.

Block 11 is the land north of the Upper Blue Elementary School, to County Road 3.

The town is working with various agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, to restore wildlife and fish habitat along the Blue River, create a water storage reservoir and develop amenities for the community.

Consultants from Wenk Associates, Walsh Environmental Services, Carter Burgess and Leland Consulting Group will meet Thursday to create three or four alternatives and solicit ideas from the public.

Regardless what ideas are presented, each alternative will include a reservoir.

Since last summer’s drought, the town has brainstormed a variety of ideas concerning water storage. Officials concluded the most feasible idea would be water storage.

“That’s the biggest story – how this community is going to store water,” said Mayor Sam Mamula. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Front Range water interests make a raid one of these days on our water supplies.”

Breckenridge has plenty of water rights to fill a 200-acre-foot reservoir – 66.4 million gallons of water – but until now, hasn’t had anywhere to store it. The McCain parcel could prove to be that spot.

Preliminary ideas related to recreation include equestrian facilities, a variety of ballfields, a golf course or golf practice area, whitewater park, Nordic skiing, running and biking trails, a vintage car race track, ice skating, fishing or Frisbee golf.

Community-oriented ideas include affordable housing, realigning and restoring the Blue River, a historic mining or railroad interpretive park, skier parking, snow stacking, a potential future high school site or town or nonprofit offices.

Among the amenities rising to the top are open space, the river restoration, fishing, boating and a whitewater park.

Another amenity in high demand is ball fields – for soccer, rugby, softball and baseball. That and other activities, including disc golf, golf and a freeride bike park, might be better suited on Block 11, just south of County Road 3, said Ann Wenk, senior associate with Wenk.

Additionally, the Army Corps of Engineers will conduct a feasibility analysis and develop restoration alternatives for the Blue River this summer.

If the project is deemed feasible, the Corps will contribute $5 million toward the restoration. Under the terms of the grant, the town must contribute $2 million, some of which it hopes to do by claiming the value of the land as an in-kind contribution.

Town officials also hope to incorporate the town’s river restoration plan into the Corps’ habitat and Alpine Rocks’ land restoration efforts on the McCain parcel. Alpine Rock has been mining the area for gravel, and is still located on the north end of the property.

They also hope to incorporate the Colorado Department of Transportation’s plans to widen Highway 9 into a relocation of the bike path to the west end of the property, far away from the road.

Officials also must consider how to address existing commercial businesses on the property, many of whom had verbal leases with McCain. They include High Country Furniture and Gallery and the two woodworking shops behind that, and Summit Landscaping, which has a storage facility at the northeast end. The town has forged short-term leases with the companies until long-term decisions are made.

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