At a workshop prior to the regularly scheduled Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting Monday night, a half dozen interested residents from the confluence-area neighborhood were present to glean some information about the possible options for the replacement of the Fourth Avenue pedestrian bridge that was washed away during the 2013 flood. Town staff members Matt Manley and Joe Kubala took those
present through a slide show, which outlined the three proposals, gave the pros and cons of each site, as well as the estimated costs involved.
The first proposed site is at Fourth Avenue (about where the previous bridge was located). According to most of the citizen input received by the Trustees so far, this is the preferred site for the confluence neighbors. Other “pros” mentioned were the ease of pedestrian flow into the main business district of downtown Lyons, and this site is, of course what residents are used to. Major “cons” were the fact that in order to conform to “zero rise” stipulations by FEMA for any construction in the floodway and ADA regulations, a gradual sloped ramp would have to be constructed on the south bank of the river, which would adversely impact the view (and possibly the resale value) of the home right on the corner Park and Fourth (the Jill Babcock home) even though the ramp would be built in the Town's right-of-way. There would also be concerns about debris blockage during a flood event, and this site was also the most costly of the three, (approximately $278K). Questions were put forward about re-aligning the bridge to mitigate the impact on the property, but this would require it to go above the road, and it would then need to be thirteen and a half feet (CDOT regulations) above the road surface, and would present additional problems as well as a higher price. A “swing-away” option was also put forth, and deemed not viable by engineer Kubala.
A second site, further down stream closer to the confluence of the North and South Forks of the St.Vrain would connect two 404-Buyout properties on either side of the river at Third Avenue and Park Street (near the location of the former “Christmas House”). This site was deemed a little less direct for pedestrians wishing to access downtown, but would be more direct for those wishing to access the Post Office, the bank, and the eastern portion of Main Street. It was also a cheaper (approximately $218K) option. This site also had similar debris issues as the Fourth Avenue site.
The third option to be run up the flag pole was to construct a pedestrian bridge next to the existing Fifth Avenue Bridge on the downstream side. This was by far the least expensive option (approximately $135K), and it had the added bonus that if CDOT ever gets around to prioritizing the replacement of said bridge (unlikely, but who knows what will happen if Trump gets his infrastructure money from Congress), they would be obligated to incorporate a “pedestrian way” into their plans for a new bridge. The downside of this location is that it puts pedestrians onto a portion of Rte. 7 that has heavy traffic volume, and is not a direct flow route to most of downtown.
A fourth option was briefly mentioned in passing; the “do nothing” option. Apparently the Town's insurance will reimburse the cost of the destroyed bridge ($73K) to be used by the Town any way it sees fit. FEMA will match that amount for a bridge replacement, and will also allow the Town to use money from the flood recovery Pilot Program toward a pedestrian bridge. However, any of the Pilot Program monies used for bridge replacement will be money taken from the “pot” that can't be used for other needed recovery projects, like the amenities in Bohn Park, bridge or road repairs, etc. So, a lot of weighing of options still needs to be sorted out. To that end, the Board instructed staff to schedule several meetings (time/date/location TBD) with residents to get more citizen input.
Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Bill Crist reported that the turning lane stripes at the high school have been completed, and look great. And he reminded everyone of his neighborhood traffic calming meeting at the Fire Station on Thursday, April 6, at 6 p.m.
Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen informed the Board that the design contract with Baker Design for the McConnell Bridge project may have to be renegotiated to bring the cost down. She added that the foundations for the new bathrooms in Bohn Park have been poured, as have the bridge abutments. Grading and platting work is being done for the new Public Works building east of town, and she told the Trustees that the insurance company would like to get the work done on the ballfields in Bohn Park before the skate park if Finance Director Tony Cavalier can work out the cash flow issues. There was also a request to allocate some money (about $40K) to spruce up the landscaping around the award-winning Depot Building. Trustee Barney Dreistadt indicated that the Lyons Volunteers would be available to help with the labor end of it, and Mayor Connie Sullivan indicated that this might be something the LHS Lions Leo Club would like to get involved with.
Nobody spoke during the public hearings for two ordinances, which passed without so much as a “How -Do-You-Do.” The first ordinance concerned the height of fencing around outdoor pools, and the second will require people who wish to install renewable energy generation systems on their homes to install an additional meter socket.
Of the three items on the consent agenda, two were pulled for further discussion. That left the March accounts payable, which passed six to zero (Trustee Michael Karavas was not present) in two shakes of a lamb's tail. The first item pulled concerned a resolution approving change orders for work done at LaVern Johnson Park. Once Sullivan suggested that henceforth these change orders include the status of the “not to exceed” tally, this measure was approved in the blink of an eye. Dreistadt had a few “word-smithing” issues with a second resolution having to do with an agreement with Poysti & Adams LLC for service rendered on a financial audit. After dotting the “i” and crossing the “t” this item was given the thumbs up quicker than you could say “Jack Robinson.”
During general business, a discussion ensued regarding a request for an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Town of Lyons and the Lyons Fire Protection District over procedures concerning turn around time for building permit sign-offs, change of occupancy, and other paperwork concerns. Apparently the staffs of the entities (the Fire District and the Town) haven't been playing nice with each other recently, and noses have gotten out of joint. Lawyers were called in, and to no one's surprise, things got complicated. The District wants an IGA, the Town Attorney wants a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and advises against an IGA, blah, blah, blah. . . Meanwhile, the billable hours just keep piling up. The BOT pretty much told representative from the Fire District Board to instruct the two staffs (District's and Town's) not to get too caught up in whether it's called an IGA or an MOU, or as Dreistadt called it, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), and just play nice and to tell each other exactly what was needed and expected, and a reasonable time frame for getting it done. What was it Shakespeare wrote in Henry VI? Was it something about doing something to all the lawyers?
Another IGA, this one with the St. Vrain Valley School District concerning imposing fair share contribution fees against certain new residential development didn't exactly sit well with most of the Board members, and was tossed back in the staff's court to talk to the SVVSD about changing some of the provisions as they pertain to Lyons, or perhaps just scrapping the whole deal. Stay tuned. This was not a good night for IGAs Good thing the Library District wasn't on the evening's agenda.
Also up for discussion was House Bill 1242, a transportation tax, which would add .62% to the sales tax collected by the state, and would bring approximately $20K to the Town of Lyons annually. Although everybody on the Board agreed Colorado was decades behind (because of TABOR restrictions) its roads/infrastructure needs (especially along the I-70 corridor) nobody was too gung-ho about adding a tax increase that would put Lyons' sales tax around 9%. No decision was made about whether the BOT would go along with DR COG and the Metro Mayors to endorse the measure. It'll come up again in two weeks, after everyone has had a chance to mull it over.
Trustee reports were given, and the meeting was adjourned. But not before them Tar Heels whipped on the Bulldogs for the national title.