Where to park the bus in Central City…

$55K to be spent on street improvement projects

By Randy Beaudette

  The regular Council Meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. All regular City Council members; Jeff Aiken, Judy Laratta, Kathy Heider, Shirley Voorhies, and Mayor Ron Engels. Also present, Staff members City Clerk Reba Bechtel, City Manager Daniel Miera, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, Public Works Director Sam Hoover, Utilities Director Jason Nelson, and Fire Chief Gary Allen.

The Mayor called for a motion to approve the Consent Agenda which consisted of the Regular Bill lists through May 12; and approval of the May 3, 2016 City Council meeting minutes. Motion was approved unanimously.

Levitt Street Improvement

A resolution of the City Council of the City of Central, Colorado approving Levitt Street (Resolution No. 16-14). The City desires to address hazardous environmental issues, excessive auto emissions, noise, and potential damage to historical buildings and structures, and protect public health and welfare of the residents and visitors by authorizing the City Manager to take all necessary and proper steps to restrict vehicular traffic on Leavitt Street.

Section 8-4-30 allows the City Council to authorize the City Manager to take steps to restrict vehicular traffic (up to and including closure) on certain roadways if the City Council determines that vehicular access to certain roadways is hazardous in accordance with Section 8-4-20.

Several attendees held strong opinions for and against the Resolution.

Berry Phillips Vice President and General Manager of Reserve Casino asked City Council to take pause on this resolution stating that 80% of his employees use the bus to commute to work. Secondly, those buses bring guests in from the metro area and there are break periods between 2 and 4 hours when they take passengers back down the hill. During these break periods, they need an area where they can park. Phillips request that Council put a little more thought into what are the options. They bring up tens of thousands of guests not only to the casinos, but also to the opera of which their season will start very soon. Summer time is the busiest season and to pass this resolution at this short notice is to disrespect our partners at these bus companies.

Steve Cordrey, Casino Operations Manager, Ace Express Coaches also ask City Council to allow more time to explore other options. Anytime an issue such as this comes up it is usually associated with additional costs that are not incorporated into the budget. These costs are usually passed on to the passengers. Cordrey stated that unfortunately Ace was responsible for the fuel spill recently, and let it be known that Ace has no intention to come up here and pollute. And in accordance with DOT and EPA laws, busses are not allowed to sit and idle – plus it increases the costs in fuel.

Alison Hickok, Central City resident is for Resolution 16-14. Hickok stated that this has been a two-year battle living across the street from this area. She states that she has called the bus companies and complained that the busses rev their engines, sit with their back-up alarms sounding off for extended periods of time, and the busses make a lot of noise pulling up the grade onto Lawrence Street. Furthermore, these disruptions occur at all hours of the day and night. It is difficult to get a normal night of sleep.

Joe Behm from the Central City Business Improvement District advocated to City Council to take more time and explore other options. Behm read aloud a promotional statement from the Estes Park tourism board. “Plenty of parking for vehicles of all sizes – even motorhomes. Take the free shuttle from the lots and visit Estes Park and surrounding attractions.” Behm continued, “We have half of that right, we have the shuttle system, but we don’t have the space for parking.”

Mayor Engels asked City Council if there were any further questions. Alderman Aiken suggested that City Council not vote on this resolution at this time and explore other options. Alderman Laratta also suggested postponement of the vote. Alderman Voorhies made the motion to postpone the vote on Resolution 16-14 until June 7, 2016, Alderman Laratta second. Postponement carried four votes to Mayor Engels’ one.

Re-Plat Central City Lot

Community Development Director Ray Rears presented an Administrative Re-Plat (AR-16-01) to Central City Council. Applicant Carolyn Goltra, Manager for Central City LLC is requesting lot, Block 1 Lot 1, 12, &13 be consolidated into one parcel referred to as Central City, Block1, Lot, 11A. The subject parcels are located at the former Doc Holiday’s Casino along Main Street in which the applicant owns. The applicant feels that a consolidation of lots will have a benefit to marketing the property for future development. Motion passed unanimously.

Central City Firefighter Request

Central City Volunteer Firefighters Foundation request for $22,000 in funds to facilitate the growth, safety and security of the Central City Fire Department. The funds will be used to grow the Foundation and to jump start their fundraising efforts. The requested funds will be used on start-up costs, outreach and education, and fundraising. Motion passed unanimously.

Community Clean-Up

   Aside from the usual meetings, participation in the Community Clean-up Event on May 13 went very well. 55 folks from various businesses and volunteer groups showed up before the weather turned and worked very hard cleaning, sweeping and washing windows.

$55,000 for What?

Public Works Director Sam Hoover wanted to squelch the rumor that the City was spending $55,000 on improvements of Leavitt Street. These rumors are incorrect. The $55,000 will be spent on various projects throughout the City. First will be a roto-mill and two inch (asphalt) overlay on Gregory Street from Main Street, east to D Street. There will be some concrete repairs around the handicap ramps near the Century (Casino) area and the rest of the money will be used to move the crosswalk near Jonny Z’s and installing a flashing crosswalk sign.

Public Forum/ Audience Participation

  Lynne Poe who lives in the Prospector’s Run area, wanted to talk about the fire station or the lack of a fire station in the Prospector’s Run area. Poe wanted to point out that the Central City Fire department needs a lot of attention and support from the Central City Council to update the City’s equipment and facilities. She stated that in the hand-out ‘Imagine Central City,” there is no mention of modernizing the Fire Department or no mention of safety. This issue is the foundation of attracting new businesses and providing a sustainable future for Central City.

Executive session

Central City Council adjourned to Executive session.

Next Meeting

The next Central City Council Regular meeting will be June 7, 2016 at 7 p.m. at Central City Hall, 141 Nevada Street, Central City, Colorado.

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