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Commissioners Seek Disaster Relief from Recent Flooding

This photo depicts the largest of the washouts created by flooding in Phantom Canyon northeast of Canon City in May. There are at least four significant washouts that will need to be repaired in Phantom Canyon before the road reopens later this summer.

The heavy rains and flash flooding that occurred across Fremont County during May prompted the Fremont County Board of Commissioners to adopt a resolution at their May 26th declaring Fremont County a disaster area in hopes of securing disaster declaration funding assistance through the state and federal government.    The disaster declaration follows similar resolutions passed by the Boards of Commissioners in Pueblo and El Paso Counties.   The resolution noted that as of May 26th Fremont County had already accumulated 10.7 inches of rainfall over a five week period since April 1st.

Fremont County Transportation Director Tony Adamic reported that damages just in Phantom Canyon where there were at least four significant washouts of the county road are expected to exceed $775,000.   Combined with damage to County Roads 132, 77, 69. 45, and others it’s expected that total damage could easily top $1.2 million.   Phantom Canyon Road is expected to be closed for several weeks while road crews deal with repairing other flood damaged roads as well as dealing with their planned summer road construction schedule.

The Commissioners approved a grant application request to the Colorado Division of Homeland Security in the amount of $2.9 million in an attempt to recover more costs associated with the June, 2013, wildfire at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.   The federal government made more financial assistance available to Colorado communities hit hard by the 2013 wildfires and flooding.   Fremont County’s grant application seeks assistance in rebuilding County Road 3A to the Royal Gorge which sustained heavy damage from months of heavy truck traffic associated with the reconstruction of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.

The Commissioners approved wildfire protection plans for two more rural subdivisions that employed the services of a consultant to make recommendations how homeowners could protect their homes and property from wildfires.   The two wildfire protection plans cover the Dakota Hideout subdivision along County Road 123 just northeast of Cañon City and the Upper Beaver Creek area along County Road 132 northwest of Penrose.

In other business at the May 26th board meeting the Commissioners:

  • Authorized the board chairman to sign a memorandum of understanding with the City of Cañon City that allows the city to take over maintenance of the grassy area behind the county’s Garden Park Building.   The area will be included as part of the development of the Macon Plaza;
  • Approved the Eastern Fremont County Trails, Open Space, and River Corridor Master Plan completed recently by the Cañon City Recreation and Park District;
  • Voted to approve two separate exemptions from county subdivision regulations because of the small area of the lot sizes involved.   The two exemptions in the Lincoln Park area included one for property at the corner of Sherman and Willow and one for property at Ash and Grand;
  • Heard an update report on statistics and activities at the John C. Fremont Library in Florence.