Civic Progress Changing Victor for the Better

By Beth Dodd:

 

The sound of construction work can be heard all around town as the City of Victor continues to surge ahead with its many community revitalization projects. One of these projects is the conversion of an empty lot on Third Street from a weedy vacant lot into a welcoming community plaza.

The city has received a grant from DOLA for $8,000 to stabilize a deteriorating historic wall on the lot’s west side. The top of the wall has been leveled and gaps caused by water damage have been repaired with matching rock donated by the CC&V Mine. A low stone bumper wall has been added at the base of the historic wall to protect it from possible damage from parking cars. The future Third Street Plaza has also now been re-surfaced with fresh gravel for off-street parking, increasing safety and allowing better views of the historic buildings downtown. Raised brick flower beds full of blooms line the sidewalk. A new fence on the north side gives privacy to the neighbor’s yard.

The next step is expected to be earth work and a safety railing on the top of the wall. Historic cribbing timbers from the old cribbing wall in Squaw Gulch, which will be filled when the CC&V Mine expands, might be used for a staircase in the plaza in the future. In addition to the grant money for the Third Street Plaza, DOLA has also recently contributed a new data base system called Downtown Diva to help the city organize and manage information relevant to its Main Street projects and to improve its organizational capacity. Victor also intends to conduct a building inventory in the coming months. The inventory will identify rentable vacant buildings and their possible business uses. In conjunction with this, Downtown Colorado Inc. will provide information on creative ways to support the development of new businesses, or business incubation, during the quarterly DREAM Commission meeting at 1:00 p.m. at the Victor Elks Club on Oct. 17. The meeting will be followed by a celebration at 5:00 p.m. Becky Parham, who has played a vital role in the community’s efforts to reinvent itself, has recently enjoyed a change in status. Parham had been employed as an OSM/VISTA worker for Victor through a cooperative effort by the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, the federal Office of Surface Mining, and the VISTA worker program. She is now working directly with the city as Victor’s OSM/VISTA, and is coordinating Victor’s DREAM Commission and Main Street projects with Downtown Colorado, Inc. and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).

The officers of the Victor Police Department have now been hired as Teller County Sheriff’s deputies. They have been allowed to retain their seniority, but not their rank. Former interim Victor Police Chief Mike Rulo is now serving as a part-time transition advisor. The change has allowed for 24/7 law enforcement coverage within the city and in surrounding areas such as Skagway, which were previously outside the reach of the Victor PD. Response time has been greatly reduced and all the resources of the Teller County Sheriff’s Department are now available to Victor residents. A first test of the new system came when multiple Teller County Sheriff’s officers responded to an altercation at 119 Catherine, next door to the old Pikes Peak Power Sub Station building, in Victor on August 22.

The new Park & Recreation Master Plan for Victor has been completed and top priority has been given to the improvement of the Brian’s Park Ice Arena at 4th and Spicer. The city has applied for a large GOCO matching grant to do major renovations at the facility, which is the home of the Victor Penguins Hockey team in the winter and doubles as a soccer field in the summer. If the funding comes through, the city will build new bleachers with safety screening to protect the audience from stray hockey pucks and soccer balls, improve parking and drainage, install new lighting, and get a retractable sun canopy. The wastewater and sewer repairs around town are about 2/3 finished and the work continues. The old lines are being repaired or replaced as needed based on inspection work done by an earlier camera survey. Bids are also coming into City Hall for the Fourth Street Improvements project and a contractor will be selected in the near future. New pavement, sidewalks, curbs and gutters are planned on 4th Street from Diamond to Portland. As efforts progress to modernize utility services, the old gold camp still strives to hold on to its history. At the corner of 4th and Lee, the CC&V Gold Mine is in the process of installing and restoring the Rittenhouse Mine head frame. The historic structure, originally from the hills southeast of Cripple Creek, is one of a dozen buildings being relocated so that the mine can harvest the remaining riches below their original sites while preserving the community’s historic legacy.