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Fire hydrant inspection fails half of the hydrants checked

by Bill Knowles

WALSENBURG— Two inspections conducted by the Huerfano County Fire Department on 45 fire hydrants around the city shows that half, or 23, of the fire hydrants have moderate to severe problems.  Of the 23 needing attention 11 failed testing and are considered unsuitable for emergency operations.  And one hydrant was missing from its location at 8th and Main streets.

    A letter from the Huerfano County Fire Protection District signed by Huerfano County Fire Department Chief Gerald Jerant indicated that the City of Walsenburg and the fire protection district had entered into an intergovernmental agreement in 2003 requiring the city to maintain and upgrade its water delivery system in order to comply with the fire district’s ISO requirements.

    The Insurance Services Office or ISO is a rating and risk management group whose rating system is used by various agencies, including fire departments, to determine the quality of fire safety, prevention and control in a given area such as a city.  ISO ratings are also used by many insurance companies to determine the cost of owner’s insurance.  The lower the rating the higher home owners insurance will be.

    According to the letter, testing and inspection of the city’s water delivery system has to be conducted on a semi annual bases.  The recent inspection shows that the city had not conducted their inspections over a long period of time.

    A double ceremony at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 19, officially filled two empty seats;  the city clerk and the empty Ward 2 seat.  Assistant City Administrator, Beth Neece administered the oath to Wanda Britt, the new city clerk and then Britt administered the oath to newly selected Ward 2 council member, Gary Sporcich.

    Britt began her employment with the city on Sept. 16 and Mr Sporcich was chosen to serve on the council Thursday, Oct. 14. Sporcich has no experience serving in the public sector and Britt will need to receive certification as a city clerk.

    Charles Bryant presented a set of rules that will be posted at the new skate park during the citizen’s forum portion of the regular city council meeting.  The rules are necessary for CIRSA.  CIRSA is the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency that helps the city to manage its risk and provides insurance for municipalities.  The rules presented to the council will satisfy certain provisions in the agreement between Walsenburg and CIRSA.

    Bryant also gave an update on the skate park project indicating that the old surface of the defunct tennis court at City Park had been broken up and removed and that he was ready to order the stress concrete half pipe which would be ready in 60 days to 90 days.  Around 5,000 square feet of concrete will be poured for the surface of the park and then the half pipe would be installed.  That will complete phase one of a three phase construction plan for the outdoor skate park.

    Joan Hatchett from the Colorado Workforce Center also addressed the city council informing them of a $450,000 manufacturing grant that will be split between Alamosa, Pueblo, Trinidad and Walsenburg.  The grant will be used to help get workers into manufacturing.  Hatchett told the council that as an example a larger portion of the money will go to Pueblo where a larger manufacturing base exists such as Vestas.

    The workforce center is in the Huerfano County Community Center and is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    The old Huerfano World building on west 7th Street will be getting a makeover according to Bill Moran. Moran is the husband of April Moran, owner of April’s Attic at 6th and Main in downtown Walsenburg.

    The Morans are the new owners of the Huerfano World building, the empty lot just west of the building and the garage area of the building just west of the empty lot.  He presented preliminary drawings of the work he will doing to the property that will turn the blighted area into a type of town square allowing for small businesses to move in and operate in the refurbished buildings.  The area will also have a town square type feel to it.

    He asked the city to consider helping with some of the work by repairing the sidewalk and eliminating the drive way apron from in front of the garage that will allow for two more parking spaces along curbside.

    Future plans call for another structure to be built at the back of the lot and Mr. Moran asked the city about waiving sewer and water tap fees for that part of the plan.

    Any work along 7th Street will require applications to the Colorado Department of Transportation for directing traffic through the work zones.  And according to council member Erin Jerant getting a CDOT application through the system is time consuming.

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