ALAMOSA — Vern Davis came to the Alamosa city council this week with a special request for “seating” at the cemetery.
He asked if the city could install some permanent public restrooms at the Alamosa Cemetery, where the only bathrooms available are in a city office that may be closed when people are visiting the cemetery, such as on Memorial Day.
To give one example, he said the Sunday before Memorial Day when folks were in the cemetery preparing for the holiday two elderly ladies were frantically trying to find a restroom. One finally made a hasty retreat behind one of the buildings.
“Had a policeman been driving down 20th Street she probably would have been ticked for indecent exposure,” Davis said.
Vern and his wife Rosa began inquiring with city council and staff what could be done to prevent such an emergency in the future and learned the issue had never arisen before now. They said they believed this was a frequent problem for people attending funerals and other special events at the cemetery.
Alamosa Mayor Kathy Rogers thanked the Davises for bringing the matter to the city’s attention.
Alamosa Parks/Recreation Director Heinz Bergann said when the problem was presented to him, he began looking into a solution. He has found a company that builds restrooms requiring no electricity or plumbing system. In that sense, they are like portable toilets but are a bit classier, he explained. A large container under the building would be filled periodically with water, and a sewage removal company would have to be contracted to handle disposal as well, he explained.
Bergann agreed that when city staff are on site the public have access to the city office’s bathroom, but when that office is closed, there is nowhere for the public to go.
Bergann said a restroom like the one he was looking into could be purchased through cemetery endowment funds.
Other items coming before the city council during their July 17 meeting included:
• A report from the Friends of 169 who shared the progress they had made on refurbishing and maintaining the locomotive. They explained that to move forward with more extensive refurbishing would require grant funding such as department of transportation enhancement funds.
• A report from new PERA (Public Employees’ Retirement Association) President Greg Smith who talked about some of the impacts the 500,000 members have on the state and the region. PERA members range from municipal workers and judges to school teachers. PERA distributes $3.5 billion a year in Colorado, Smith added. Colorado’s PERA has been revamped to the point where it is fiscally successful and serves as a model to other states, Smith said.
• The appointment of Robert McWhirter to the planning commission to represent Ward 4; and the appointment of Adam Moore to the tree board. The tree board is still lacking a member, so applications are still welcome.
• The approval on first reading and setting for August 7 of an intergovernmental agreement with the county waiving sewer/water fees for a food distribution building for the food bank network. The building will be constructed at 8735 Independence Way. City Public Works Director Don Koskelin said this property is proposed for annexation in the future.
• The approval unanimously of the Naranjo Replat, an area recently annexed. The replat adjust property lines to reflect the way the property has been developed over the years, Koskelin explained.
• The approval, not entirely unanimously, of the Jeff Martinez replat in Sierra Vista Addition, Martinez Apartment Village, where 16-unit apartment complexes are proposed. This is generally in an area south of Town and Country.
Initially, in a 4-3 vote the council defeated a motion requiring the developer to immediately improve Foster Drive from First Street to Chico. Defeating the motion were Councilors Greg Gillaspie, Charles Griego, Rusty Johnson and Mayor Kathy Rogers. Those voting for it were Councilors Josef Lucero, Leland Romero and Marcia Tuggle.
The council then approved in a 6-1 vote, with Lucero dissenting, the final plat with conditions that: the first two buildings could be constructed with the existing roads, as long as there would be no access to Foster Drive (access would be from First Street); but Foster would have to be constructed before any additional units were constructed, or within five years; and a five-year performance bond would be required to assure the road would be constructed.
The council extensively discussed issues surrounding this development such as when improvements should be made to the streets and what kind of surety the developer should put up, whether it would be escrow, performance bond or simply to build the road upfront. The improvement cost would be about $86,000.
The councilors weighed the need to work with developers and the need for this type of development against the potential future problem of roads and associated infrastructure that should have been developed and were not. Other developers are expected to put in the infrastructure upfront, councilors argued.
Martinez said he did not know if the full development would ever be built, and the first two buildings would only have access off First Street. He said he was willing to build out Foster Drive when it was time, but he did not believe that time was now.
“I don’t want to spend $80,000 on a street nobody’s going to use,” he said.