Representatives from Durango-based Russell Engineering, Inc., a civil engineering and land planning firm commissioned by the town to design a new storm water system and streetscape, gave a PowerPoint presentation and answered questions from members of the Town Planning Commission during its regular meeting at the Community Center. The airing included a street-by-street cost breakdown, recommended construction phasing schedule, as well as the streescape layout. The scope of the project, however, was reduced due to “anticipated funding limitations,” limiting the streetscape plan to just the north side of Colorado Highway 62 between Laura and Railroad streets, according to Assistant Planner Jennifer Coates.
The cost of the project would be $2.7 million and could take 20-30 years to finance, according to Town Manager Greg Clifton, who noted that any recommendation by the Ridgway Town Council would have to be approved by voters at the polls.
The principal streets included in the renovation would be Railroad, Clinton, Laura, Cora, and Lena. The plan depicts the street layout while accommodating underground utilities; the named streets would be asphalted except Clinton, which would be paved in concrete. Clinton would once again serve as the hub of the Historic District, and could be closed to motor vehicle traffic for special events.
The intersections of the streets would also be paved in an earth-toned concrete color to “keep pedestrian flow,” according to William “Frowny” Frownfelter, who, along with Walker Christensen, Katie Nelson and Drew Chandler of Russell Engineering and THM Design, produced the plan.
The plan includes a lighted intersection at Railroad Street and Hwy. 62, with the last several yards of Railroad being moved westward onto what is now the southern portion of the tennis courts, as mandated by the Colorado Department of Transportation; buried power lines; the removal of the microwave repeater dish now in place at the Qwest Communications station on Clinton; the addition of trees on the named streets; and the utilization of more color and flower “palettes” to make Lena Street a “gateway to the town.”
“The additional trees would keep the character of the architecture,” said Chandler.
Parking would be increased from the current 180 places to 200, according to the design team.
The impact of additional street lighting was a topic of concern for some members in the audience. “I would like to see it a little darker,” commented Ridgway resident Brian Peters.
“If this goes forward, we're still two years off from actual construction,” said Clifton.
Hunter to Replace Rogers on Town Council
The ripple effect of the non-renewal of several Ridgway Secondary School teachers by the board of education on April 17 continues to be felt – most recently with some changes in the composition of Ridgway's planning commission and town council.
Planning commission chair Ellen Hunter informed the Town of Ridgway that she will be accepting an appointment to the Ridgway Town Council, filling the vacancy created by the May 15 resignation of Jonathan Rogers, who taught for four years at Ridgway Secondary School.
Town regulations provide that the runner up candidate be given an opportunity to be appointed by the town. Hunter lost to Rogers by seven votes in the April 1 election.
Rogers will be teaching language arts and journalism at Iowa City High. In his May 15 resignation letter, Rogers thanked citizens for the opportunity to serve: “It has been a pleasure to be part of this community and I look forward to hearing about new roads, festivals, green spaces, affordable housing, future issues of the Demon Press, and a renovated downtown that is sure to make Ridgway even better.”
At their May 27 meeting, planning commission members appointed member Jack Petruccelli chairperson and expressed their intent for the town to aggressively find a replacement for Hunter.