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Idaho Springs Historical Society president Bob Bowland joked with the city council on April 18 that he would put on his track shoes to get everything done this week, so the council could officially …
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Idaho Springs Historical Society president Bob Bowland joked with the city council on April 18 that he would put on his track shoes to get everything done this week, so the council could officially consider a proposal to expand two parking lots on the east side of the historic district.
Bowland will try to get two more construction bids and meet with Colorado Department of Transportation officials about proposed changes to the lots before the council meets at 7 p.m. Monday, April 25.
Bowland hopes to get the council’s approval and have the parking lots expanded in time for the summer because he believes expanded lots will make it easier for tourists to visit attractions and businesses. Bowland’s proposal has the endorsement of the Idaho Springs Chamber of Commerce.
The proposal increases the lots from 140 spaces to about 178, removes several cement islands and expands parking into Water Street and a small road that runs along the westbound Interstate 70 barrier. The project is expected to cost about $15,000, with more than 70 percent of the funds coming from other sources.
The council and Mayor Jack Morgan endorse the idea, but two hurdles must be cleared before the project can be approved and moved forward. Morgan raised concerns about them at the April 11 council meeting.
The first hurdle is to get three construction bids in accordance with state requirements.
The second hurdle is to get approval to expand the lots from CDOT, which owns a portion of the land.
Council member Kate Collier applauded the efforts of Bowland, the chamber and other local entities that contributed time, planning and money to getting the project under way.
“I feel very strongly that our council should do whatever it can to facilitate this,” Collier said. “… I think we all agree on one thing, which is we all need more (sales) tax dollars and whatever avenues, no pun intended, it takes to get us there.”
The issue of construction bids boiled down to a misunderstanding between the city and Bowland, who obtained the first bid. Bowland thought a single bid would suffice if the city’s share of the cost would be below $5,000. However, for any project that costs more than $5,000, even if the city is not footing the entire bill, the city is required by state law to solicit three bids.
Bowland obtained a grant for $8,000 from the Clear Creek Economic Development Corp. and another $3,000 from local business owners, so the city’s share is about $4,000.
With regard to CDOT’s approval of improvements to the parking lots, Bowland said a CDOT representative would be coming to Idaho Springs later this week to look at the site.
The city also will research whether it has an agreement with CDOT regarding using the land and any improvements made to it.
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