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Construction to Start Soon on Riverwalk Levee Repairs

This July 1st photo shows the Arkansas River ripping away the concrete wall on the Riverwalk levee just west of the Raynolds Avenue Bridge. Even more of the levee collapsed into the raging torrent in the weeks that followed.

A bid has been awarded by the Fremont County Commissioners which will allow work to begin on the long awaited repairs to the levee on the Arkansas Riverwalk west of the Raynolds Avenue Bridge.   The concrete wall was undermined by high runoff on the river last May and June.   Initially the Cañon City Recreation and Park District began engineering work for the repairs but then learned that the levee where the riverwalk crosses became the responsibility of Fremont County back in the 1960’s when the original flood conservancy district was dissolved.

The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday awarded a contract for the reconstruction to Whinnery Construction of Lake City, Colorado.   Whinnery submitted the lowest of three bids at $147,235.   The other bids included Tezak Construction at $216,168 and Avalanche Excavating at $267,413.   Seventy-five percent of the cost will be borne by the Federal Emergency Management Agency while the county will pick up the other 25 percent.   The Cañon City Recreation District has already spent about $14,000 on preliminary engineering for the project.    It’s anticipated the reconstruction will involve more of a rock face on the levee instead of restoring a concrete block wall.    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already given their approval for the contractor to perform work within the river channel.

The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday also approved a Commercial Development Plan and a liquor license change of location for Mike Abbott.   Abbott will relocate the Waterhole #1 liquor store from 1503 Elm Avenue to a spot just down the street at 1532 Elm Avenue.   Abbott said an increase in rent prompted him to buy the property at Highway 115 and Elm to relocate.

Devin and Corie Ames testified against the relocation saying it’s inappropriate for a liquor store to abut against their residential property directly to the north.   The Ames complained that motorists already use the right of way in front of their property to turn around on Elm Avenue.    Commission Chairman Ed Norden said as long as those motorists are using public right of way along Elm Avenue they are free to park or turn around.   Commissioner Debbie Bell noted that the new location is zoned “Business” and use of the property for a liquor store is a permitted use in that zone.

The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday also took the last formal actions on resolutions adopting a 2016 county budget, appropriating funds for the budget, and levying the necessary 12.322 mills in property tax for the budget.   That mill levy is the maximum allowed by law plus an annual allowance for recovery of tax abatements and refunds.   The Commissioners also certified the mill levies that will be collected for 2016 property taxes for every governmental entity in the county that relies on property tax revenue for their operations.   Commissioner Norden noted again that of all property taxes collected only about 20 percent of the total goes to fund county government.

In other business Tuesday the Board of Commissioners:

  • Approved creation of an outlot in the Indian Springs subdivision about eight miles north of Cotopaxi.    The outlot of about once acre will be carved out of a piece of private property for the exclusive purpose of constructing a fire station for the Deer Mountain Fire Protection District;
  • Reappointed Mary Chamberlain, Judy McCormick, and Elizabeth Denney to the Fremont County Heritage Commission for three year terms;
  • Appointed Nancy Huber to fill a vacancy on the John C. Fremont Library Board in Florence;
  • Appointed Commissioner Ed Norden to serve as an alternate to the Fremont County Board of Zoning Adjustment;
  • Ratified the chairman’s signature on a contract to replace the door entry security system in the Fremont County Judicial Center.   County Finance Director Sunny Bryant said the new system will cost about $48,000.   The present system has failed and cannot be repaired.   Judicial employees now have to use keys on those doors to move about the building in the interim.