MONTROSE – On second reading the Montrose City Council Tuesday voted and adopted an ordinance to close a portion of South Cascade Ave. between South Second and South Third streets, to be transformed into a pedestrian quad aimed at connecting portions of Colorado Mesa University's Montrose Campus.
CMU President Tim Foster addressed council before the vote. He stated that work would begin next year, but noted there was still much to be done to find and develop new parking areas around the downtown campus. Foster said he was also working with Montrose County to try and reach a formal agreement about the possibility of students using portions of the County's parking lot located off the north end of the campus.
"We haven't had as strong of a relationship with the town of Montrose [in the past]. We certainly appreciate how that has changed dramatically," Foster said.
In August, CMU purchased the former 3,200 square-foot Patrick Davis and Associates architectural firm building at 245 S. Cascade Ave. to house the school's new student lounge, tutoring center, career services department, financial aid, and meeting rooms for student clubs and organizations, for $400,000. The City of Montrose contributed $50,000 toward the purchase.
Joey Montoya, CMU's Montrose campus director, said students won’t begin to use the new facility until next spring, as renovations are not yet complete.
To connect its new building to the CMU main campus on the west side of Cascade Avenue, CMU is building a pedestrian quad or "green space" for students to use, and removing traffic on that portion of Cascade Ave., to increase student safety.
A pair of private citizens who own buildings in the area of the proposed closure stated the removal of parking spaces will affect their tenants; however, both owners said they support the college's plans. City planner Gary Baker said final plans are yet to be complete and the city is creating a Parking Advisory Board to investigate and create new parking areas in downtown.
The quad development will continue CMU's investment – totalling $1.4 million, and climbing – in the Montrose Campus.
New Ordinance on Door-to-Door Solicitation Adopted
The City of Montrose Tuesday adopted its new ordinance on solicitation to protect both residents and a potential free speech challenge against the city.
Nonprofit organizations seeking donations or gifts, religious organizations and political organizations will not be affected by the new ordinance.
To avoid commercial solicitation, residents can sign the city's "no solicitation" list. Residents can also post “no solicitation” notices on their property. To directly target companies or sales people yet still allow non-profit groups like Girl Scouts, residents are advised to post signs that read No Commercial Solicitation.
In 1937 the City of Montrose banned door-to-door solicitation, but in order to avoid free speech challenges, the city has decided to change its municipal code. City attorney Stephen Alcorn said the Montrose ordinance is similar to one used in Fort Collins. He said the City of Fort Collins was sued because the ordinance violated commercial free speech and ended up being a "costly court battle."
To avoid the same challenge and costs to the City of Montrose a new ordinance was approved to balance the First Amendment rights of residential solicitors in the city with the privacy, safety, health and welfare of city residents. The ordinance requires the city to issue identification badges and permits for solicitors and limit hours of solicitation.
The ordinance will go into effect Jan. 31, 2014. Violators can be sentenced to a year in county jail or face thousands of dollars in fines.
For more information about the ordinance or to find out about solicitation hours visit: www.cityofmontrose.org.
Montrose Police Taking Applications for Citizen Police Academy
Interested citizens who want to learn more about the history and operations of the Montrose Police Department can participate in the department's 17th annual Citizen's Police Academy beginning in January. The ten-week course will be held Monday nights in the City Council Chambers at 107 South Cascade Ave. Topics include the history of the Montrose Police Department, Traffic Contacts, Criminal Investigations, Community-Oriented Policing, Traffic Laws, Defensive Driving, Support Staff/Records/Clerical, School Resources, Hiring Process, Internal Affairs, SWAT, Firearms at the San Juan Range, Officer Survival and Patrol Procedures, Animal Services, Evidence, and Victims Advocate.
The first Citizen's Police Academy was held in 1997. If you are interested in attending, please stop by the Montrose Police Department and fill out a short application and return it to the department by Monday, December 30.
Sewer-line Project Begins, Motorists Urged to Use Caution
The City of Montrose began work on a sewer-line replacement and extension project this week. The affected areas are Sunnyside Road west of Sherwood Drive, South 12th Street east of Mesa Avenue and Mesa Avenue between Niagara and South 12th Street.
Motorists should use alternate routes to avoid the construction area. Motorists and pedestrians who do travel through the construction area are being asked to drive carefully and respect any "coned-off" areas.
Although every attempt will be made to maintain undisturbed traffic flow in both directions throughout the project area, especially during peak traffic hours, periodic temporary lane closures may be necessary to maintain safe clearance between traffic and construction equipment. Access to adjacent residences, businesses and Columbine Middle School will be maintained at all times throughout the project.
Construction will extend into the spring of 2014; the project is necessary to increase sewer-line capacity consistent with recommendations in the city's Sanitary Sewer Master Plan. Contact Scott Murphy, City Engineer, at 970/240-1498, for more information about the project.
City Prepares for 2014 Municipal Election
The City of Montrose is beginning the process of preparing for a 2014 municipal election regarding city council positions and a possible vote regarding a sales tax increase for a proposed Community Recreation Center.
On April 1, the city will conduct its regular general election to elect qualified candidates to fill three city council positions: District One’s four-year term, presently held by David Romero; District Two’s four-year term, presently held by Carol A. McDermott; and an At-Large District two-year term, now held by Judy Ann Files. A District Map providing detailed information about boundaries can be found at www.cityofmontrose.org.
Mail-in ballots will be sent to eligible voters between March 10 and March 14, 2014. Inactive voters must apply for ballots. For more information, contact the Montrose County Clerk at 970/249-3362 or visit the Montrose County Courthouse at 320 South First St.