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Our View: Bump-outs on Main; LPEA power supply; city housing

The bump-outs that proved to be so successful for downtown restaurants beginning mid-summer 2020, with 2021 have completed a full year. Their presence came to an end this week.

The bump-outs have given restaurants additional visibility, served diners still wary of too-close seating and given an opportunity for outdoor dining to those without a rear patio or a rooftop.

Construction styles differed, all with the expectation that they would be disassembled and reused next year. One local company produced a particularly heavy duty model, well engineered.

Maria’s Bookshop created a leafy perimeter around places to sit and, guess what, to read. Imaginative. Its ownership is known for its advocacy for trees.

Elected city leadership and administration moved quickly in 2020 to approve the bump-outs and to reduce Main Avenue to one lane in each direction with a center left turn only. Good, quick decisions that proved again this summer to be well-thought-out.

While the virus may be less intense next year, we expect the popularity of bump-outs to continue.

LPEA on the right track

That La Plata Electric Association is negotiating with an alternative power supplier for a likely reduction in the cost of electricity and for it to be greener is very good news. Advocates for reducing the dependence on Tri-State Generation and Transmission have said that such a possibility could occur.

No specifics yet, but the direction looks favorable.

While LPEA had been pressuring Tri-State to partially or fully free it from its contract obligations, today’s opportunity is possible because Tri-State volunteered to make some local capacity available to its members. LPEA stepped up to request what is approximately half its needs.

We look forward to a successful result.

City should look for housing funding

Not as much money appears to be available as was hoped for the acquisition and conversion by the city of the 71-unit Best Western west of the river into affordable housing. Three million dollars of about the $9 million needed is in an appropriations bill, according to Colorado’s two senators.

We expect the city is looking elsewhere to fill the shortfall, as using motel properties for housing has become a popular concept almost nationwide.

We’d also like to think that with lower-cost housing on everyone’s minds, that there are other sources of funding, whether grants or low-interest loans.

We look forward to the day when the city is successful and a portion – a portion – of local housing needs can be satisfied.