The Fourth Street improvement project in Westcliffe was completed almost a month ago, providing a smooth ride for vehicles between Main Street and Rosita Avenue, and potentially alleviating the flooding issues that have been experienced along that one-block stretch. However, recent heavy rains gave homeowners along the road a less than thrilled response to the reconstruction.
“I came home and it was raining,” said one homeowner, Cecily Ketterer, “and I had a moat. I almost couldn’t make it to my front door. Also, I can’t open my gate because of the sidewalk and I also lost parking because the mailboxes were moved in front of my house.”
Other homeowners attended a special meeting on Tuesday, July 29 to discuss the flooding issues that the new street has created.
“I found a perfectly preserved, dead, male cat washed into my home,” said another owner, Ken Culpin. “Also, Martin Marietta, who did the renovation, covered up an access to fiber optics. That has to be uncovered.”
Mayor Christy Veltrie stated that the town had not heard anything from anyone until the project had already been completed. The total costs for both the Fourth and Fifth Street projects were $151,360.
“Had the project not been done,” Veltrie stated, “there would have been more water problems. If there is anything we can do to help residents, we will.”
Homeowners Janice and Jamie Squire told the board that the drain in their front yard that was recently put in is a safety hazard if someone should fall and break their neck.
“A railing or grate needs to be put in to block it off,” Jamie Squire said.
“The streets should never have been built up either,” Janice Squire said. “They should have remained level.”
Jamie Squire stated that after living there for 60 years, he has never seen it flood from the street in.
Trustee Rod Thornberg suggested that there may be some tearing up and redoing on the street, but also stated that if these problems are fixed, more may come up.
After the meeting, everyone from the town board and a representative from Martin Marietta walked down Fourth Street to look at flooding areas.
It was decided that the alleys would be the first to be fixed, and town man Jerry Keffer began work on that element of the project immediately.The street drainage will be discussed at a later date.
“We had to do this Fourth Street project because it was Westcliffe’s worst city block,” said Trustee Brian Clince. “It is also an access road to the Fire Department across the street. This gives them a quicker route to some of the homes in town.”
Clince explained that Westcliffe is at a lower elevation than Silver Cliff and as a result receives water from Silver Cliff during storms.
“That water is on our shoulders,” Clince said. “To deal with these problems that the homeowners are experiencing will be at a minimal expense. We will do everything we can to take care of our property owners.”
Clince stated that the capital improvements can’t stop, but continue like a stair-step process.
“We will get the drainage to where it needs to be,” Clince said.
– J.E. Ward