Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
Evans City Manager Aden Hogan and his great Mayor Lyle Achziger took me on a tour of some of the destruction in their city from the flooding not too many yesterdays ago. The extent of damage - to a manufactured housing complex, to various city streets, to the sewer plant, to a city park - was devastating. It was heartbreaking to see. One entire mobile home park is destroyed and will likely be condemned and hauled off as debris.
While at the Evans Community Center, I attended a meeting facilitated by Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway that included many of the mayors along the Highway 85 corridor, where I saw a tremendous amount of local government vision, and a lot of thinking about tomorrow.
What to do about affordable housing was a huge discussion point. Many of the folks who lost their homes are at restricted income levels and do not have a lot of options. Also, there is not a lot of vacant space. The rental market is tight. This is a very, very difficult dilemma - both from a policy standpoint and a political standpoint. There will be a lot of engagement from a lot of folks both at the local and regional levels, nonprofits, housing authorities, religious institutions, the state, and the federal government. And, of course, there will have to be engagement from private developers.
In the coming days, I will be in Sterling looking at a damaged sewer plant and other flood damage with City Manager Joe Kiolbasa; spending the day with Tara Schoendiger, the Jamestown mayor, with CML Board Member and Nederland Mayor Joe Gierlach as my escort; and then going over Estes Park to see Mayor Bill Pinkham and Administrator Frank Lancaster.
CML needs to know what challenges you are facing now and tomorrow - through these visits, through contact with staff, from comments on this blog. For those of you impacted by last month’s flood disaster, how are you thinking about tomorrow? As Fleetwood Mac’s lyrics go, “Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.”