(Isn't that the greatest picture?)
Why are updates to this site so sporadic?
The people working on this website are business owners, so they're spending the days in their stores, and their spare time working on this effort- to raise awareness of The LOOP project for their neighbors, which a surprising number of their neighbors know nothing about! This is unlike the good folks at Town Hall, who are diligently working all day on the payroll to get this project to happen, making flood maps, writing Media Releases and things like that. (Yeah, that was a little opinionated but look at the facts and settle down a bit- these are business owners fighting for what they think is right and they do not have the luxury of a well appointed office with staff and finances to state their case, this is America in Action folks).
congestion is a problem in the summer. What are we doing about it?
Thats a good question that has not been answered with a commitment or funding. The Town has said they will look into some sign changes, and check out changing the traffic signals including a change back to the 'all cross' (Barnes Dance) pedestrian direction...... But adding traffic officers or any other actual commitment to eliminating congestion have not been made. We hope this is wrong and they have decided something, but from the looks of Town Board meetings, we're right. (Please, prove us wrong! Send in your comments)
This seems like an election campaign, but we cant vote on it?
This is an awareness campaign that is targeted at people that are not aware of what is at stake: The Town is on the cusp of making changes to downtown that will shortchange visitors that want to visit historic downtown down by forcing them around the downtown community as they head East- among other problems. No, you can't go to the polling place and say yes or no, but you can contact your elected representatives and tell them what you're thinking. Whether you live in town, in the county, in Nebraska or you're just passing through, the Estes Park Trustees need to hear from you! They will make the decision before April 16th on whether to continue moving forward or not. That's the date that the Feds have demanded a written response from the Town to proceed, or take 'No Action' on the FLAP funding and politely say 'No'. Now, if the awareness campaign does not get the trustees attention, either side of this issue could call for an election- but that's a whole other issue.
What about fema changing the floodplain?
In August of 2014, the Town prepared a map of the current floodplain (interestingly with 'No Action' in the title), that depicted the possible future floodplain, for grant applications they were working on. This map has been used by the folks in favor of the FLAP project, because it's scary looking! There is a wide band of red that spreads over more of downtown than the current floodplain map. Take Note: This map was created by the town planning department based on their best guess at what the hydrology of the rivers is today. According to Will Birchfield, Chief Building Official for the Town, the hydrology and hydraulic data required for an actual map is a long ways off. The Town recently received a grant to hire an engineering firm to collect water flow data, then perform the hydrology part of the study, and then the State of Colo will survey the rivers to provide hydraulic information. Until those steps are complete- any flood plain talk is SPECULATION. The actual map is years away, and will be issued after current flood mitigation work is performed. It will look very different than the map the Town issued in August.
** 4/8/15: There have been some questions about the origin of this map, and how accurate the data is that was used to compile it. Both pretty important questions! The information we originally shared above is from a first hand visit with Will Birchfield. During our conversation he did not mention anything about an engineering firm providing data or preparing the map. He did say that they used a modeling software to generate the map. The next day, an engineering firm name popped up as being involved with its creation, but we haven't pursued the issue yet- not enough time in the day for shopkeepers to keep up with the Towns changing story I guess. Regardless, the take away is that this map is A DRAFT, and should be watermarked as such, but that is another oversight of the Town, as a map marked DRAFT might be less persuasive when you're trying to sell a bridge or 3 to a community.
** 4/9/15" The Town handed out a flyer around town to businesses that advertised a FLOOD INSURANCE information session at the end of the month. With important information about FLOOD INSURANCE PREMIUMS to be discussed. Good thing they gave so much notice on this! (In time for the FLAP meeting). Also, good thing they handed them out personally to downtown businesses! (Usually Kate Rusch sends out a news release by email and you might see it or you might not). Scared yet? You should be thinking about the flood plain, but the emergence of all the independent flood stories and meetings- after the Town received a well deserved scolding for tying the FLAP project to flood mitigation is very telling. It's a separate issue, but it's in the same column as the FLAP story.
will the flap funding solve the floodplain issue for downtown?
This has already been answered by Frank Lancaster and Greg Muhonen: NOPE. Another chink in the armor, as this FLAP grant was applied for before the big flood in 2013- and only recently has been made into a "Save Downtown Estes From Flooding" cause. Greg (Town of EP) said that one of the main causes of downtown flooding was the bridge and water wheel structure at West Elkhorn, which is not included in the FLAP funding bridge replacement project. Both have remarked that the bridges that would be replaced in the FLAP project are only a part of the overall solution and have been very careful to state that this FLAP project is not the cure for flooding.... but we keep seeing map images - heck, the Trail Gazette featured it across the entire upper half of the front page in BRIGHT RED for all to see.
will there be a $10,000 fee to be in business if the loop project doesn't happen?
We jumped on that rumor when we heard it, and found out that a business owner downtown was talking with a member of Partners for Commerce that had come into his store to talk about the LOOP project, and the $10,000 figure came from the PFC member guesstimating the cost of insurance if the floodplain was expanded. A rumor and guesstimate, that's what it was. See question above about FEMA changing the floodplain. What was probably intended as general conversation spread like a fire alarm among business owners. Careful with what you say!
why did this site change to say only 2 bridges will be replaced?
That's what is in the grant application, versus what we heard in the open house- the Ivy and Riverside bridges are the only structures listed to be replaced. That may come as another surprise to the Town, like the surprise that they can only use the FLAP money for what they applied for, per the letter dated March 9th, which you can review for yourself on the Additional Reading page.
4/10 Update: Frank SAYS that 3 bridges are included. The TG SAYS the Town says 3 bridges are included. Both those sources have also said things that were later shown to be unfortunate smiscommunications. So, we're going with what the documents we have seen (and posted here) say, because the contract rules.
what happened to the request for public comment about this project?
As of Friday 4/3, the request was still being researched by the Federal folks, whom the request was referred to by the Town. As you recall, the Town said they didn't have any public comment on the project as of 3/25. The federal agency folks say they are trying to get the information together for it to be released... The PUBLIC COMMENT that will be given to the Trustees to review that has been collected since this project started will be handed to the Trustees on the night they are going to decide whether to move forward on this project or not? Plenty of time to read and digest the info? Government in action folks.
Update 4/18: Nearly 170 comments were included in the records request we received, with about 75% of them against the project, and another 12% asking questions, leaving only a small number of supporters of the project, although many of them were advocating for alternative projects that are no longer on the table.
The public comments we received have not been shared with the trustees as of 5/1/15
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