Meis rankled by road project, blames school

Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis expressed frustration Monday about how much money the county is investing to improve a two-mile stretch of D 1/2 Road and claimed the location where School District 51 chose to build Pear Park Elementary School effectively forced the county to spend the money.

“This thing just chaps me to no end. This D 1/2 Road is just going to drive me nuts,” Meis said in a series of comments he made before the commission unanimously agreed to pay Colorado Springs-based Transportation Resource Services $59,960 to help the county acquire property needed to complete the second phase of the D 1/2 Road project.

The county embarked on the project last year, widening the road between 30 and 32 roads to three lanes and installing curb, gutter and sidewalk on both sides of the street largely in an effort to make it safer for students to walk to and from Chatfield and Pear Park Elementary schools. It still needs to complete D 1/2 Road between 31 and 31 3/4 roads.

County public works officials scaled back the scope of the work by building curb, gutter and sidewalk in front of developed parcels of land only, leaving the bill for improvements along undeveloped land to be picked up by developers later. Meis, though, suggested the county should be doing even less work than that. And he said he’d like to send the bill for the project to District 51.

“The school district basically took our capital plan and threw it away when they decided to build a school right in the middle of the area,” he said.

County Engineering Division Director Mike Meininger pointed out to the board that the county reduced the price tag of the project from $6 million to $4.5 million.

“That’s not making me feel any better,” Meis responded. “But thanks.”

District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said the district originally looked at building the school at 2927 D 1/2 Road but ultimately decided against it because there was less development surrounding that site than the one the district ultimately chose at 432 30 1/4 Road. It would cost the district more money to build on D 1/2 Road, he said.

Kirtland also suggested that the D 1/2 Road project was triggered not just by the school, but by increasing traffic and development in the area.

In other business, commissioners unanimously adopted a series of new exemptions to the county’s 2 percent sales tax. The decision means the sales of certain machinery, farm equipment and pesticides and sales by certain charitable organizations will be exempt from being charged sales tax.


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