Final decision could be made on Thompson Park proposal
CARBONDALE, Colorado – The proposed Thompson Park annexation is back before the Carbondale trustees tonight for what could be a final decision on future residential development of the site.
But it’s the proposed dedication of the historic Thompson farm house to the town for a museum that has become the emotional string attached to the whole deal.
Several historic preservation advocates are planning a candlelight vigil outside Carbondale Town Hall, and supporters are being rallied to attend the meeting, which convenes at 6:30 tonight.
The house, built by homesteader Myron Thompson in the late 1880s, has remained in the Thompson family over the years, but has not been lived in since the 1960s.
Its contents, a virtual look into Carbondale’s past, were recently deeded to the Mount Sopris Historical Society. The family and developer Frieda Wallison now propose to deed the house and about an acre of surrounding land to the town for a historic museum and park.
In return, Wallison is asking for annexation of about 10 acres of what’s now a “county island” situated between the River Valley Ranch and Keator Grove subdivisions along Highway 133, and zoning that would allow up to 85 new houses.
Town trustees had been requested to make a decision on the proposal at a Nov. 3 meeting, with town planning staff recommending approval. However, the board was not ready at that point.
Two separate motions at that meeting, one to deny the project and the other to approve it, both failed on 3-2 votes. Trustee John Hoffmann cast the deciding vote in both instances, saying he doesn’t want to pass up the opportunity to preserve the farm house, but that the development plan still needs some work.
Mayor Michael Hassig has had to dismiss himself from the discussions, as his architectural firm is involved in the project. Trustee Pam Zentmyer was absent from the November meeting, and could prove to be the deciding vote.
“There are still a lot of undecided factors,” Zentmyer said Monday, adding she has not been intensely lobbied by either proponents or opponents of the project.
One change in the site plan since the last time she saw it was a reconfiguration of a park adjacent to the farm house, instead of along Highway 133. That was one of the things Zentmyer said she had suggested previously.
“It’s nice, because now there’s a big open space in one spot,” she said.
Still, density and other issues associated with the development plan concern her.
“I hate approving these big projects when so many details are left out,” Zentmyer said.
The public hearing on the proposal has been continued multiple times since the trustees began discussing it last summer.
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