Central City project updates

Candidates for City positions announced

By David Josselyn

The Central City Council and Staff met for a work session on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. All members of the Council were there along with City Manager Daniel Miera, Utilities Superintendent Shawn Griffith, Fire Chief Gary Allen, City Clerk Reba Bechtel, and the return of Finance Director Shannon Flowers. Updating the Council on work projects was the stated purpose of this work session.

The primary topic was the cleanup, repair, and closure of the Central City Parkway due to the recent rock slide. The Parkway is currently closed every weekday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm except on Fridays. Friday’s closure is from 8:00 am and will reopen at noon. The original notice did not extend the closures past Friday, September 12; however, Superintendent Griffith stated that it could go into the following week in a worst case scenario. Griffith was optimistic about opening the Parkway ahead of schedule. They need to move about 22,000 cubic yards of rock from the incline. Bob Young, owner of the Young Ranch on whose property the work is required, has given permission to dump the material just west of the slide, which is adjacent to and downhill from the project. Griffith also stated that blasting is probable. The Parkway is being closed for public safety. City Manager Miera let the Council know that letters of thanks did go out to the pro-bono workers that helped contain the slide and reopen the Parkway after the incident. Gilpin County has loaned the City a variable message sign to use as a communication tool. Manager Miera also stated that an increased law enforcement presence has been dispatched.

Alderman Shirley Voorhies informed the Staff that she has had to dispel two rumors regarding the slide. The first being that the blasting from the Twin Tunnels project caused the slide and second, that the car race must have loosened the rocks and caused the slide. Alderman Kathy Heider spoke up saying that after hearing the same rumors, she talked to a geologist and an engineer and both of them agreed that the only thing that brought the rocks down was Mother Nature.

Alderman Glo Gaines asked about the Nevada Street wall in reference to new markings on the street and barriers. Superintendent Griffith answered that the markings were from a recent survey to monitor any shifting in the area. Repair to the area is still in the works.

When the Council inquired about new development, Manager Miera mentioned that there are a couple of projects in discussion, one called the Iron Horse Project, and then Clear Creek Development. Clear Creek Development is interested in building along the Parkway, both in their County and in Gilpin. They are currently interested in pursuing talks for development that would benefit both counties.

Alderman Voorhies informed the Staff that notices went out today (September 2) about the closure of Mountain Family Health Center (MFHC). MFHC will be shutting its doors on November 26, 2014.

City Clerk Reba Bechtel announced the certified candidates for Council and Mayor that will appear on November’s ballot. Running for the position of Mayor of Central City will be incumbent Ron Engels and challenger Robert Fejeran. There are two Council positions open which will be fought over by incumbent Shirley Voorhies and challengers Judy Laratta, Kara R. Tinucci, Bobbie Hill, and Janet Thompson.

The Council discussed communications with the public, rehashing services already utilized such as the water bills, postings at the Post Office and City Hall, and postings on non-city Facebook pages; and brain-storming other ideas such as an official City Facebook page and the defunct Channel 20. Alderman Gaines asked about Channel 20 and if they could get it working again. Manager Miera replied that they have talked about it and he is putting together a timeline to get it done. Part of the issue is the system runs on Windows XP which is no longer supported.

There were no other reports, so Mayor Engels called an end to the work session. The regular Council Meeting was cancelled and will meet again on September 16.

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