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Mancos trustees ponder next steps after fire

Disaster destroyed Mancos production facility
The Western Excelsior fire rages on Monday. Mancos Fire Department officials Tony and Ray Aspromonte appeared before the Mancos Town Board on Wednesday night.

Mancos town officials and board members anticipate they’ll be sorting through the aftermath of the Western Excelsior fire for a long time.

At the town board of trustees regular meeting Wednesday, Mayor Queenie Barz thanked Mancos Fire Department officials Tony and Ray Aspromonte.

“You did a remarkable job,” Barz said. “To watch you all work together was amazing.”

Tony and Ray Aspromonte said they appreciated all the help from town staff members, including the Marshal’s Office and street department.

Colorado Department of Local Affairs Regional Manager Ken Charles also spoke at the meeting. He said his department sometimes gets involved when communities are cleaning up from catastrophic events.

“We wanted to lend support to the town and community,” he said.

Trustee Ed Hallam said he appreciated DOLA reaching out to lend a hand.

“This could be a pretty severe impact on the community as a whole,” Hallam said.

Montezuma County Emergency Manager Paul Hollar told trustees that the county commissioners were interested in working with the town and the company to keep Western Excelsior jobs in Mancos.

Town Clerk-Treasurer Heather Alvarez said as of Wednesday an insurance adjuster had not yet been to the site to assess the fire damage, so the company could not do much to move forward.

Also at the meeting, trustees voted to contribute $3,000 toward an effort to install wayfinding signs around town.

The total cost of the project will be about $13,000 for a total of 16 aluminum signs. The Mancos Creative District and Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce also will commit funds to the project.

The signs will direct people traveling through town to locations such as Boyle Park, the Mancos Public Library, Visitor’s Center, Town Hall and downtown area, among others.

Mancos Creative District President Rena Wilson said not all the signs would be installed this year. A second phase of the project will be completed next year, she said.

The town’s contribution for the project will be reallocated from three different line items in the town’s budget — economic development, town beautification and legislative dues.

Also at the meeting, trustees voted to approve spending $4,645 from the general fund reserves to pay for security improvements at Mancos Town Hall, including security cameras, keypad entry locks and window tinting.

Trustees also voted to approve a $1,625 expense to add and remove stop signs at certain intersections around town. The changes will help improve traffic flow and decrease wear and tear on town streets, according to Mancos Marshal Jason Spruell.

Spruell also proposed a second phase of the traffic improvement project for 2018, in which a town-wide speed limit of 20 mph would be imposed. Trustees did not vote on that phase of the project.

Trustees authorized Alvarez to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation for the Main Street Bridge replacement project.

The total cost for the project was estimated at about $1.25 million in 2015, according to Alvarez. The town was awarded a CDOT grant of just over $1 million in 2015, with the town’s contribution estimated at about $250,000.

Those cost estimates could change, though, Alvarez said. She estimated that design and engineering plans for the project would not be finalized until fall or winter 2017.


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