State of Central City addressed

John Scarffe, Central City. The city manager and aldermen of the City of Central presented the second annual State of the City at the Elks Lodge on Main Street on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. The location for the address was changed from the City Hall to the Elks Lodge because of a water leak that damaged the regular meeting room.

Mayor Kathryn Heider opened the address by saying she has been mayor one whole meeting. She said she wanted to present some wonderful things that have been happening in Central City in 2016, and some plans for the future.

City Manager Daniel R. Miera said a water break off the water heater made its way into the Council chambers and all the way down to the basement, so they moved the meeting to the Elks Lodge. He thanked the Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department for their help in cleaning up.

Alderman Shirley Voorhees said one of the highlights of the year was the purchase of the Big-T lot, which re-opened access to Nevada Street. Heider said another highlight was the city taking possession of the Belvidere Theater in Central City, which has been neglected and misused for many years.

The theater will be an economic engine for the Town, Heider said. They are completing Phase I of bringing it back to life with work on the façade. It is listed on Colorado’s most endangered places.

Also during the year, the City signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Gilpin County Sheriff’s office for 24/7 law enforcement, Heider said. “We’ve dissolved the police department.”

Heider said she has seen a lot of evidence of sheriff’s patrols. “We will continue to assess the situation, but for now we’ve solved a very difficult problem.”

Voorhees said the City conducted a major update of its comprehensive plan and held community meetings. Improvements to the website and channel 20 won the 2016 Silver Davey award. The City also now has monument signs at both ends of town and reallocated access to the billboards on the Central City Parkway so they may be more easily changed and maintained.

Alderman Jeff Aiken said the city had a very successful clean-up effort, and he is excited about the direction the town is heading. The City had a very good series of events during the year, and they got good feedback from the business owners, Aiken said.

Alderman Judy Laratta said she was the first one to drive down Main Street after it was changed to one way heading north. “It makes Maine Street look extremely busy all the time.”

Heider said the city spent a whole lot of its energy on infrastructure.  They did the sidewalks on Lawrence and Eureka streets and resurfaced a portion of Gregory Street. They also added seats for the bus shelter and spent a lot on Central City Parkway repairs, and Voorhees said they improved Parkway access ramps at Lake Gulch Road and Virginia Canyon Road.

Heider said the general fund and finances have grown steadily. She remembers that four years ago they had to take out a short-term loan, but now finances are growing steadily. Voters passed a marijuana sales tax.

For 2017, Voorhees said they plan to complete comprehensive plan work and land use codes. They also plan to finish Phase II of the Belvedere project and institute way finding signage.

The City also plans to work on underground utility lines in the Spring Street and Gregory Street areas and upgrade lighting, Voorhees said.

Heider said the city will start addressing water diversion issues through water diversion structures at Peck and Miner’s. Improving the fire services program is crucial.

The Central City Opera has a new big plan, so the City is working with the Opera to discuss expansions. The opera could add heat, which would allow it to operate year around.

They also might add heat to Washington Hall, where the art gallery is located, and that would expand its uses year around. A council seat will be vacant and up for election on April 4.

Miera thanked the staff for all of its hard work and presented department of the year awards to public utilities and public works.