Prowers Board of Commissioners Discusses Improvements to County Rd 12

During  morning work session on February 20, 2014,  the Prowers Board of Commissioners got updates from Meagan Hillman, Director of Public Health and Environment as well as from Judy Wittman, Prowers County Treasurer.

Calvin Melcher from Holly addressed the board, asking for some direction on who to contact regarding getting help with asbestos and lead abatements for homeowners in Holly.  He was told that there are state and federal grants available and was given more information about who to speak to regarding applying for these grants.

Next on the agenda was a discussion concerning a standing water issue across a concrete pad in a low-lying area on County Road 12, which has been an ongoing problem.  During the winter, this water freezes, causing a safety issue for motorists.   When the water gets too deep, it can be difficult to see the edge of the pad, also of concern to motorists.  Todd Marriott, CPW Area Wildlife Manager, was present for the discussion as well as Mark Dorenkamp, Road &Bridge Supervisor.  Mr. Marriott explained that although the water is coming from CPW land that is adjacent to the road on one side, their hands are tied to try to remedy the water flow.  The area is a federally-protected habitat for the Eastern Black Rail, a sparrow-sized marsh bird whose populations have declined over 75% during that last 10-20 years and is listed as a threatened species.  As such, the Federal government prohibits anything being done to the area that changes the water levels, which would prohibit the Road & Bridge Department from building even a temporary dam to keep the water off the road while improvements could be made to it.  Landowners from adjacent properties were present to voice their concerns about the area and asked both Mr. Mariott and Mr. Dorenkamp what could be done.  Mr. Marriott explained that CPW has, over time, deconstructed multiple beaver dams, but they are rebuilt almost as soon as they are dismantled, so that is not a solution and that they would no longer tear the dams down.  After a lengthy discussion between all present, it was decided that CPW would contact someone from the Federal government to see if they could offer a solution, and the Board asked Mr. Dorenkamp to work towards getting an evaluation done on the concrete slab to see if its height could be increased somehow versus a more expensive replacement.  Regardless, any improvements impacting the marsh’s water levels, without the government somehow approving the work, prohibits any road work being done there.  The Board will revisit the situation at a later meeting.

Lanie Meyers-Mireles, Department of Human Services and Ms. Hillman spoke to the Board about possible solutions to improving parking around the Prowers County Annex.  A local business who will be constructing a new building adjacent to the Annex said they would have more parking spaces than their business needed and will be making a proposal to the county to possibly help financially with lot construction, charging the county rent for several parking spots for a monthly fee or both.  The Board will wait to see what the proposal is before making a decision.  There have been improvements made to the visitor lot to the north of the Annex, with new striping.  Improving the gravel lot behind the building was also discussed.  Mark Westhoff, County Administrator, explained that simply paving the lot was not an option, as the land is graded towards the building and if paved, water would flow up to the building.  The rocks and gravel currently there mediate that problem, although they also make the lot difficult to walk through and could be a safety issue if someone were to fall.  Continued discussions will be made at future meetings.

The Board then adjourned for Executive Session.  The next meeting for the Board will be Tuesday, March 5.


Filed Under: CountyFeatured


About the Author: