Water Towers and Colorado Small-Town Amenities

Colorado Ideas and Issues Radio
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            Greeley, CO    Let’s face the facts.  I’m becoming an amateur expert in western water towers.  I’m also becoming someone who pops by town centers around the West looking for people who will listen to our story and give us a hand.  Today, I woke up in Limon, Colorado, visited Deer Trail and Kersey, Colorado, and am sleeping next door in Greeley, Colorado before heading out again.  Interestingly, Google sent me on county roads, both paved and gravel and state highways throughout the eastern plains of Colorado.  What a trip!  Literally!

Town clerks in Kersey and Deer Trail went out of their way to be helpful, giving me the information on how to reach out for the mayors and council meetings on my inquiries about whether noncommercial community radio could find some space on their water towers or somewhere nearby.  In Kersey, I actually got to talk to the town manager, who was all business, saying it was “complicated” because they had an exclusive agreement with an internet company on their tower, but the follow-up directions were helpful, and I was clear that we weren’t an internet company.  A lot of homework to do when I get back to New Orleans next week, but pretty good for a couple of days work.  Deer Trail was also glad to post a notice on their community bulletin boards about the station in production.  A local coffeehouse in Limon, Ahimsa Coffee, was willing to do the same.  I couldn’t ever get on the internet at Aunt Helen’s Coffeehouse in Greeley or make the combo on the banos work there, so I didn’t bother with them this trip.  Someday.

Lucha and I walked the Prairie Trail in Deer Trail and along the irrigation canal in Kersey.  We continue to be impressed with the amenities in these small towns.  Chatting with the clerk in Deer Trail, I asked her what’s the story on all of these brand-new schools that I was seeing in Limon and Deer Trail, along with new town halls and other improvements.  She described a program by the Colorado state school district that had evaluated all of the various school buildings in the state in recent years, and where they found good performance but weak infrastructure, they allowed access to state bonding funds with a smaller participation matches from the towns.  Other state agencies had also stepped up, as I was witnessing in town after town.

Dying of curiosity, I asked her about this fairly new subdivision that looked like it had only recently popped out of the prairie in Deer Trail.  What was the story there?  Who was living there, and where were they finding jobs, was in in Deer Trail or were they commuting to Denver?  Mainly, she said these were price-conscious families who were being driven out of Denver by high home prices and were able to work the commute to Denver County, or were skilled tradespeople and worked in the zone between Arapahoe and Denver, or of course now, were remote workers.  She said they had run into a problem and had stopped new construction because the Bijou development was expanding so fast that it was past the town’s sewer capacity.  She told me I wouldn’t believe what was happening in Bennett, Colorado, a town another 25 miles closer to Denver, so only 30 or so out of the city.  Prices there have gone crazy, she reported.

I am going to have to amend some of my pitch about the noncommercial stations we are trying to build now.  I’ve been saying, yes, these are smaller communities, but give them 10, 15, or 20 years and the combined broadcast area won’t be 500,000 people or 10% of Colorado’s population, but something much, much bigger.  I would then add, hey, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Fort Collins can’t really expand much farther to the west, so if they keep growing, they’ll be coming into the eastern planes within earshot of these stations.  I may have to adjust that timeline to a much shorter period, because it seems like it may already be happening!