GOSHEN COUNTY – Ongoing discussions on public versus private road status continued Tuesday among the Goshen County Commissioners.
Bob Taylor and the county Road and Bridge Department discussed the progress of Road 74, first turning discussion to a trail that became a road in Presidential Estates connecting to Community Hospital in Torrington.
“The road is open and will remain open” until residents decide they want to request it be closed off, Taylor said. “It is a dedicated public road and it should have never been closed off.
“There is a process the people in the estates can follow to reverse the decision and close the road,” he said. “The Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Services want the road open because of easy access and cutting time to the hospital.”
Regarding ongoing discussion of Road 74. Taylor told commissioners he’d been there collecting information on the road around 10 years ago. Inquiries had been made at the time into what should be done and the land owners at that time decided they wanted to keep it private. Today, most of the residents agree they want the county to take care of the road by making it a county road, he said.
“The agreement is deciding how we do it,” Taylor said. “How much right-of-way we have to take to make it a safe county road.
“How we deal with utilities that are there already – gas, electric and telephone,” he said. “How we handle that to make a good safe road. I had some other surveys done over the years and have been piecing them together and my crew went out filling in all the gaps.”
One challenge the county will face is that it will be a dead-end road and there will have to be a place for people to turn around.
Not everyone in this neighborhood wants this road to become a county road. Marcos Martinez, who lives North of the greenhouse, said he is not in favor of making this road a county road.
What he understood is the petition that was passed around was to fix the road, not to make it into a county road.
“If it had stated in the petition they wanted to make it a county road I would had never had my wife or myself sign it,” Martinez said.
Moving to the neighborhood around 12 years ago, Martinez said he knew it was a private road that was maintained by the county.
“I understand about the county not wanting the liability of maintaining it and this is why they stopped grading it, which is just fine with me,” Martinez said.
With his kids playing near or on the road and people driving down it at 45 mph, the way the road is now slows them down, he said.
“I will also lose some of my property to make a county road and some of the other people will also lose some property, but I think I will lose the most,” Martinez said. “Going east, the property lines kind of go to the middle of the road. As you come west the line creeps into the north side. I say no to the county road.”
Martinez contacted someone to grade the road and found the cost to be very affordable.
Taylor said the process has started to make it a county road. It would be a challenge to make it a safe roadway on the north side.
As part of the process, the county would present to the residents what it would take to make the road a safe roadway. They would then hold a public hearing.
In other business:
n The sheriff department is waiting for the completion of their fire system update, which would expend all of the commissary account money. In the last meeting, Officer Wes irons told commissioners inmates were being moved to different locations because they did not like the Goshen County accommodations. Officer Irons explained he had talked with the prison warden and was told the prisoners had no say in were they are housed.
Sheriff Jeremy Wardell told the commissioners they had a large repair in the building. The hot water heater went out and had to be replaced. The water heater was for the entire building, with exception of two pods.
The cost to have the water heater replaced was $12,139 using the building maintenance funds for the repairs.
“For a while we knew the fire system needed to be updated,” Wardell said. “We have been saving up the money in the commissary account to cover it. There is enough money to cover the update.”
The commission approved the use of the maintenance funds for the repairs, then approved the commissary report. Goshen County is currently housing 39 prisoners.
n Fairgrounds manager Stephanie Lofink reported the Fair Board met with Goshen County Economic Development Corp. and have shared information regarding calendar styles, social media and educating the public on how and why some of the choices are made, including funding structure.
“We have an appointment with the auditor this week,” Lofink said. “We made an appointment with a local consultant for help putting our business portfolio and a marketing plan together for shareholders and corporate sponsorships with a focus on buy in Goshen County.”
Partnering with GCEDC, the fairgrounds will be able to get new signs with hopes it will reach out to local shareholders progressing into the state and national level.
”Our focus is on the locals in the Valley, then state and some of our corporate sponsorships” Lofink said. “It will take time to turn around but it is all in motion.”.
The fairgrounds will be applying for a lodging tax grant to replace the big sign in front, the big sign on the west side of the Pavilion and a sign for the south entry.
At the last Fair Board meeting the city of Torrington is mandating the upgrade of back flow devices to meet state and federal regulations, Lofink reported. When the building was built, many of the back-flow valves were not installed and now the city is mandating they be installed.
The reason for the back-flow devices is for public safety against water contamination. The cost would be $8,000 for Mid-West to install the devices.
“When someone uses the hose to fill their horse trailer tank and leave the hose in the tank and shuts off the water, the back-flow device will keep water from contaminating the city water system,” Lofink said.
There are three wells on the grounds that are used for various things. Backflow prevention is mandated by law, Lofink told the commission.