Rifle Downtown Project slowed by rain, but Railroad Avenue still on track to reopen in November
City Council reviews downtown update, appoints DDA board member
Work on Rifle’s Downtown Project experienced delays because of recent rainfall, but Rifle Public Works Director Brian Prunty told the Rifle City Council “dirt will be flying” Thursday.
During the council’s regular meeting, Prunty updated council members on the progress of the $3.8 million project, which began in March as an effort to improve infrastructure and beautify the downtown area project’s progress.
“They still have a bit of work to do, but they are sticking with their deadline of reopening Railroad Avenue by Nov. 5,” Prunty said. “At that time, residents will be able to utilize that portion of the road, but there will still be quite a bit of work to go.”
Railroad Avenue has been plagued with setbacks throughout most of the project. Previously, KSK Construction set a goal of paving and opening Railroad Avenue by late July, but the road was opened only temporarily, and rather than asphalt, road base was laid down to make way for the Garfield County Fair parade.
By mid-September, however, Railroad Avenue closed once again. Though KSK Construction said in September the road could be paved and re-opened by Oct. 13, the opening was pushed in early October to Nov. 5.
Prunty told council members work on the project could cause some traffic disruptions for the remainder of the week, but drivers could see a return to normal by Saturday.
No action was taken on the Downtown Project update, but Mayor Barbara Clifton and the council did approve the second reading of a code change, increasing pay for the mayor and council members.
The first reading of the code change was approved Oct. 6 and could raise monthly compensation for the mayor and council for the first time since 2009. Council members currently earn $400 per month, and the mayor earns $600 per month.
If approved on final reading, the council members could earn $600 per month, and the mayor’s pay could be increased to $950 per month starting in December.
The consent agenda was approved 6-0, with Council Member Sean Strode absent.
The council also voted 6-0 to appoint Erick Perez Jr. to the Downtown Development Authority.
Perez, who owns the recently opened Cafe Kape Panaderia, 108 W. Third St., studied business in Minnesota but said he loves Colorado, and his family is putting down roots in Rifle.
“I would love to be a part of the board and serve the community,” he said.
With Perez’s appointment, the DDA now has seven of 11 board positions filled, DDA manager Helen Rogers said.
“We’ve had a lot of people resign recently for various reasons,” Rogers said. “So we’d certainly like to see more people entertaining the idea of serving.”
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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