Update From Your Most Honorable Mayor
Walden doesn’t have a Board of Trustees meeting until Aug. 14, so this seemed like a good time to bring people up to date on what we’re doing, and so they have time to comment before I start signing contracts.
• The street project is a go, but the dates have changed slightly. The chip sealing and fogging will be done on Aug. 9 and 10. It was supposed to be done on Aug. 7 and 8, but stuff happens. Certain sections of streets will remain closed on Aug. 11 to allow the oil to set up and cure.
Businesses and residents in the affected areas should take note of these dates, and if you have taken note, tell your friends. The streets being improved are Fourth Street from Lafever to School Street; School Street from Fourth to Third Street; and Third Street from School Street to Main Street.
We expect this project will cost about $100,000, which will be paid for out of money collected under the town’s special sales tax for infrastructure improvements. The money is already in the bank.
The turnout for the McNamara Park public meeting on July 26 was way better than the turnout at the first public meeting on June 28. We had a lively discussion about the nearly-final plans for the park.
Our park planners collected 60 responses to survey questions, which is ten percent of the town’s population and probably 30 percent of the households. As a result of the answers on these surveys, the two tennis courts will be gone. It costs way too much to build a regulation tennis court, and way too much to maintain it. Low maintenance costs for any park improvements was a major concern of survey respondents.
There will be a basketball court half the size of one tennis court. There will be unique playground equipment for another area, a handicapped-accessible restroom, and a community garden.
This latter item was the object of much discussion, but it’s not a high cost addition to the park. We plan to put planters in a certain fenced off area, and if people are interested in taking responsibility for one or more plantings, fine. If not, we can put trees in the planters and call it good.
I know you all are probably surveyed to death this summer, but there is one more for the park at:
It is a very short survey. It may seem like a pain responding to these things, but we (a) base our decisions on what you say, and (b) the surveys are used to prove community involvement when we apply for grants.
The McNamara Park project budget estimate is $300,000. Hopefully, GoCo will grant us half that amount to rebuild the park. Our half is almost all on hand - in the bank or pledged.
• We are scheduled to make a decision at our meeting on Aug. 14 on a $400,000 energy improvement plan. The linchpin of this project is a solar array that will float in one of the lagoons next to the water treatment plant north of town. The solar array (when the sun is shining) should produce enough electricity to run the water plant.
The contracting work will be done by Johnson Controls and overseen by the Colorado Energy Office.
The project will be financed by the money we save on electricity costs and hopefully a 50 percent grant through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
Johnson Controls has about $7 billion of these projects on the books. What they do is conduct an energy analysis that says we will save enough money to pay off the loan. If the savings fall short, Johnson Controls covers the shortfall for three years, which should be enough time to fix the problem.
It’s not a magic bullet. We can’t apply for a grant until we commit to the project. If we commit to the project but decide not to actually do it, it will cost the town $33,000.
Sometimes it’s not easy being on the Board of Trustees. Those trustees oversee a $2.4 million municipal corporation and a $1.1 million gas utility. You might want to thank a trustee once in a while for this volunteer work.
• We are about to embark on a project to improve handicapped access to Town Hall, and oh by the way, comply with federal law. The law is secondary, however. It’s difficult for people confined to a wheelchair or on crutches to get into Town Hall. We want to fix that.
I don’t know what grant money is available for that, but I’m six for eight in getting grants for the town and clinic. If I were a baseball player, I’d be an all star.
This project probably won’t be done until next year.
• Thanks to nagging by Trustee Tim Oberbroekling, we have a new scoreboard at the ballfields. Somebody (not me) should put together a softball game to test the thing out. I’ll be glad to ump.