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State of the City address

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Mayor boasts and brags about Central City

By David Josselyn

On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, Mayor Kathy Heider gave the annual State of the City address to Council, Staff, and citizens gathered in City Hall, proclaiming 2017 to be “Another productive year.” There were six distinct points the Mayor focused on: the financial position, grant funding, economic development, marketing, capital improvements, and community development.

Mayor Heider stated the City’s financial position to be improving year after year. The General Fund ending balance for 2017 is more than $3.2 million and the projected ending cash balance for 2018 is more than $2.3 million. In comparison, the 2016 ending balance of the General Fund was $3.1 million; the projected ending cash balance for 2017 was $1.7 million. The City is financially supported by six casinos, five marijuana shops, five non-profits, and one opera company. Mayor Heider attributes a piece of their financial health to shared services with the Gilpin Sheriff’s Office and the City of Black Hawk.

The City was awarded two significant grants in 2017; an AFG Grant of $288 thousand for the purchase of a new fire truck (purchase to be made in 2018), and a USDA Planning Grant of $63 thousand for use on raw water intake structures.

Central City was included into the Northwest Colorado Enterprise Zone. This allows businesses within the City to pre-certify for Enterprise Zone tax credits. Three new events added to the economic fortitude of Central which were the Great Pumpkin Patch leading up to Halloween, carriage rides during the Tommyknocker Bazaar, and the return of the popular Hot Rod Hill Climb.

There were two professional advertisements created this last year; each with its own flavor. Both can be played in their entirety or edited for quick snippets. One features the unexpected features of the City: lakes, mines, gold panning, off-road vehicle sporting, museums, opera, and a brewpub. The other focuses on the events during the year: Lou Bunch Days bed races, the Yellow Rose Ball, the Wild Bunch gunfights, Wingfest, the Opera, the Hot Rod Hill Climb, and Beer Fest (somehow, Stills in the Hills did not make the final cut).

During 2017, the City of Central completed, or started, five capital improvement projects. Gregory Street was repaved from the Post Office to the ‘Y’ at the Black Hawk border. The sidewalks along Eureka Street were replaced. Stormwater Drainage was repaired (thanks to flood damage) and improved. Chase Gulch Reservoir Dam was given a new big toe. City Hall was repaired (thanks to flood damage) and improved.

Four community improvement projects were conceptualized and followed through. The City responded to complaints from residents about the erosion of lands around the historic cemeteries caused by vehicles that had lost their way. In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and Gilpin County, new fences were installed along the roadways to control vehicular traffic and access. A new parking lot was created specifically for recreational and off-road vehicles. Wayfinding signage was installed on every road coming into the City and inside city limits to reduce confused motorists from making unexpected maneuvers and causing preventable incidents. A monument to women in mining was installed on Virginia Canyon Road at the final bend before Hooper Street. The City, with help from Gilpin Arts Association, installed a heating system in Washington Hall for preservation and use year-round.

Mayor Heider switched from the past to looking ahead and announced the plans for 2018. The City expects to chip seal two miles of the Central City Parkway, install a new surface-parking lot between the Century Casino garage and the Grand Z Casino, repave sections of Mack Road and Spring Street, improve sidewalks and stairways, and improve existing trails while developing new paths. A new building will be installed to house the fire department’s apparatus and equipment. A new fire truck will be purchased using the grant awarded in 2017. Electric utility improvements along Spring Street are in the works, as are pressure reducing valve replacements and raw water intake structure improvements. The City will seek additional funding sources for the Belvidere Theatre preservation project.

Each year, the Council awards a City Department with a Department of the Year to recognize their efforts that went above and beyond expectation. Mayor Heider was pleased to hand the award to the Community Development Department for 2017.

The State of the City speech was followed by a regular Council Meeting in which the Council passed many housekeeping resolutions. The reappointment of Shirley Voorhies as Mayor Pro-tempore as well as several appointments to commissions and recognizing the Weekly Register-Call as the official publication for the City.

The next regular Council Meeting will be Tuesday, February 6, 2018.

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