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City Work Session reviews the Three R’s

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Remediation, Rehabilitation and Repair on Tap for Central City

By David Josselyn

  The Central City work session on Tuesday, March 5th tackled the revision of two city ordinances, the hiring of a new Planner, the remediation of the tailings on Quartz Hill, the condition of Main Street, and the repurposing of Johnson Reservoir among other issues.

Johnson Reservoir a tragic and hazardous eye sore

  City Manager Alan Lanning and Operations Director Kent Kisselman made a recommendation to Council to rehabilitate the Johnson Reservoir building and repurpose the tresses and other historic material for a future park space. The Johnson Reservoir building is located just west of the Public Works building on Eureka Street and can be recognized by a large hole in the roof. The structure cannot be removed as it is listed in the historical register and protected as such. Previously, the retained water in the building seeped under Eureka Street and caused the road to begin crumbling. The City built a retaining wall to prevent future damage, but water has a way of getting into places you don’t want it to go, according to Kent Kisselman. The recommendation presented to Council is to remove the roof, reinforce the retaining wall and fill in the outer walls. The land across the creek and further west from the building will be transformed into a park area with interpretive walking paths and a picnic area. The Council agreed to entertain the idea after cost and time estimates can be presented.

What happened to Main Street?

  Main Street was closed on Tuesday, March 5th, for repairs due to ground movement and broken paving bricks.  Mr. Kisselman stated that the damage was due to several contributing causes, the chief of which is vehicle traffic. “Heavy vehicle traffic was underestimated,” Kent explained. As a temporary remedy, the south portion of Main Street is now closed to vehicles over 10,000 pounds. City Manager Lanning added that there are ruts in the street where the vehicles have passed and you can see exactly where delivery vehicles park by the indentation of their wheels. The other primary cause of damage is water. Water seeps under the paving stones and into crevices causing shifting in the soil beneath the road. Pressure on the stones from above then causes the stones to shift. The sections requiring repair would cost the city about $50,000 stated Director Kisselman. Manager Lanning interjected that there were two viable options – to make Main Street a pedestrian mall, or to repair the road in a more permanent manner using concrete. The time frame put forth for either plan is to begin repairs in April, before the summer tourist season.

A bench is a bench

  The Council deliberated and quickly agreed that objects on Main Street should be uniform in appearance. This means that all benches, bench cushions, trash cans, and other objects should look the same. Mayor Ron Engels stipulated that maintenance standards should also be the same.

EPA is coming to town

  Kent Kisselman informed the Council that the EPA is set to begin work capping the tailings on Quartz Hill. Part of the plan will be to install a storm drain running down Nevada Street. The EPA has two projects set for Gilpin County – the Quartz Hill project, and a new waste water treatment plan by Tunnel #4 on Highway 119. According to Mr. Kisselman, they had funding for Quartz Hill, but not Tunnel #4, so the EPA will go forward with work in Central City.

What about the fish?

  The Council agreed on a plan to dredge City Park Pond. The pond currently has about one foot of freeboard remaining per Kent Kisselman. Freeboard is the clear water between the bottom sludge and the surface.  The plan is to break up the ice and get it done now before spring runoff using Central City resources, saving the city about $50,000 by not using a contractor. The pond can then be stocked later in the spring.

Weeds and floods

  Two city ordinances are being revised to include provisions on using city resources for weed control and detailing a city flood plain regulation. The State of Colorado is pressuring municipalities to create weed control ordinances using their own resources. FEMA is stating that every municipality must have a flood plain ordinance. Both ordinances are projected to be drafted, approved and put into place by January 2014.

City Monument Sign

  Council discussed the temporary replacement of the city sign at the ‘Y’ division on Eureka Street. The old sign stated, “Welcome to Central City, The Richest Square Mile on Earth.” Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Spain remarked that he once wanted to change the word “richest” to “drunkest.” We suspect that Mr. Spain was probably speaking in jest.

Mark your calendars

  The next council meeting and work session is scheduled March 19th. There was no council meeting this week since there were no items on the agenda.

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