Construction projects plentiful in De Beque
There is a construction boom in De Beque, bringing development along the Interstate 70 corridor, but also concerns that new stores will divert customers from downtown businesses.
South of town, across I-70, water lines are being laid along V Road up to the Schlumberger Energy Services site.
At the intersection of I-70 and 45.5 Road, the roads are being widened to accommodate future traffic and big rigs.
On the north side of the interstate, east of 45.5 Road, a Kum & Go convenience store and truck stop is under construction.
Several stretches of badly decayed road have been resurfaced in town.
And south of the De Beque School, Qwest is adding 1,500 square feet to a 1,000-square-foot building to house the electronics needed to triple the capacity of phone lines in the area.
“They are trying to get ahead of the population,” said Armando Jiron, a superintendent with Howell, the general contractor out of Denver working on the Qwest job. “It will be good for the community and the town.”
Hopping from job site to job site is Town Manager Bruce Smith, who likes to take a hands-on approach with construction projects. Because of the overall economic slowdown, Smith has said that now is the time to build up the community’s infrastructure
and prepare for the return of economic good times.
But some residents say the good times may leave them behind.
Next door to the under-construction, 4,744-square-foot Kum & Go is Diane Newland. She is an assistant manager at the Old West Trading Post. It is a convenience store, with a cafe and gas pumps.
When asked how she felt about the competition moving in next door, she said
“not really good.”
“There’s a lot of the local people that aren’t too happy about it.”
The Kum & Go will have a small food-service provider, such as a sub sandwich shop. It will have room for truck parking, and it will be a completely modern service station, said Louie Leatherwood, a construction superintendant for H&A Construction of Englewood.
The construction started in mid-June, and he anticipates the store will open in October.
It will be the first store travellers, and locals alike, will see upon leaving the interstate and entering De Beque.
Deana Taylor, manager of Old West, said she is worried yet thrilled that something is happening in De Beque.
“De Beque needs stuff,” she said. “This town has never had anything.”
And now the things it has are, or soon will be, at the fringes of town.
“There ain’t a whole lot in De Beque; there never has been,” said Susie Kuhn, who owns De Beque Liquors in the heart of town.
She is not looking forward to the day Kum & Go opens and expressed concern that once it is open, there will be no need for anyone with a dollar to venture into town.
“I’m thinking it is going to hurt us,” Kuhn said. The future is “scary,” she said. “It worries me that we are going to die.”