Dear Action Line: I’ve lived on the south end of town for the last 10 years and seen a lot of new development along Escalante Drive: Sunnyside Market, Rocket Pointe, Freddy’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Goodwill and now Gauge Apartments. These properties have all installed sidewalks, and that makes it easier to get a burger, doughnut or secondhand shirt. However, there is a stretch of sidewalk behind Home Depot that was left unfinished many years ago. Last winter I was almost hit by a distracted driver while forced to walk in the street there. Did the city let Home Depot off the hook for finishing their sidewalk? – Walker (but not a Texas Ranger)
Dear Walker: Ha. Check out that funky triangle at the tip of that sidewalk. Wonder if someone used their combination square to measure that. Such a handy tool. Wonder where you can buy one?
For an answer to Walker’s question, we had to travel back in time, back to when the Rocket Drive-In had just closed for good (sniff, sniff) and Home Depot had just opened. The Rocket aimed its last projector beam at the giant screen in 2004 (sniff, sniff).
This was also probably before most current-day Durango denizens moved here. (Anyone keeping track of such demographics?)
Durango’s public works director, Allison Baker, noted that “this one was a little before my time, so excuse the time to track down an initial answer.” But track down an answer she did.
“When that sidewalk was constructed, Escalante Drive had not been extended north to complete the tie-in,” she said. The property between Home Depot and Wal-Mart was still privately owned, she noted.
“The reason it makes the odd rightward turn in the riprap is that, prior to the Escalante Drive extension, there was a cul-de-sac at the end of the paved road and the sidewalk was likely circling around it,” she said.
To old-time Durangoans – in this case, that means anyone who came before around 2013 – this is likely a memory-jogger. It took a long time to get that property developed and Escalante Drive pushed through. There was a longer, slower way from Home Depot to Dominguez Drive, but no Escalante and definitely no doughnuts or hamburgers along the journey.
The sidewalk ended behind Home Depot because there was nowhere to go.
“Given the number of years since Home Depot construction,” Baker said, “the city will likely be the constructor of the sidewalk extension to the (Americans With Disabilities Act) ramp at the next most northern crossroad.”
When that will happen is a bit uncertain. With Escalante Drive completed and the Gauge Apartments in place, “It makes sense that people will now want to walk north so that pushes it up on our priority list.”
Baker said the city has been focusing concrete-improvement dollars on required ADA ramp improvements and in supporting homeowners and businesses that have sidewalks that they are willing to invest in improving.
“That program is in review for some possible revisions, so next year’s concrete locations are not finalized,” Baker said.
Dear Action Line: People complain that Durango housing costs are crazy, but I find them quite reasonable. In fact, I paid over the asking price for mine. People sure like to complain, don’t they? – I. Ron Pfist
Dear I. Ron: Hey, didn’t you write in a question last week? Action Line is beginning to sense a conspiracy here.
So, it’s all relative with real estate values, isn’t it?
Action Line is considering moving to Scranton, Pennsylvania, which, totally coincidentally, happens to be where a guy named Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. lived his first 10 years. A glance at realtor.com shows that a 1,388-square-foot house on Brick Avenue in Scranton, with three bedrooms and 1½ bathrooms, is going for $79,900.
Meanwhile, in Nantucket, Massachusetts, which, also coincidentally, happens to be where that same Robinette guy used to spend Thanksgivings (really – Action Line did not plan that), one can purchase a 1,524-square-foot house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms on Union Street for $1,795,000.
In Durango West 2 there’s a 1,256-square-foot house on Fir Drive, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, going for $450,000.
In conclusion, Durango is smack dab in the middle, and actually on the low end. We proved it. So quit whining, like Mr. Pfist said.
Email questions and suggestions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Rats! There’s a pending sale on the Brick Avenue home; sorry for getting everyone all excited.