Proposals sought to spruce up Broadway

Calling all contractors: The South Broadway beautification project is expected to start after Labor Day.

The South Broadway improvement project extends from Maple Street south to McElmo. It’s the first phase of a broader master plan to beautify all of the corridors leading into Cortez.

“I’m glad we’re getting under way with the South Broadway phase,” said City Manager Shane Hale. “It’s going to be great for the city.”

The city’s large number of public parks, the 122-acre Hawkins Preserve, the 72-acre Carpenter Natural Area and the championship 18-hole Conquistador golf course are just a few of the amenities available in Cortez, but roadways into the city don’t give a true sense of what Cortez has to offer, Hale said.

The 90-day South Broadway project isn’t expected to have a huge impact on motorists: “We’ll ensure that all of our turn lanes remain open and that we’re not stopping or impeding traffic,” Hale said.

At a retreat last month, city council members agreed that the aesthetic value of a community affects the quality of life. Officials also appear committed to future beautification improvements, citing they’d like to appropriate $25,000 annually for projects through 2016.

Hale said and any future beautification projects would be budget-driven decisions based on the city’s overall needs when budgets are implemented.

South Broadway project bids will be opened on Aug. 7. The project involves removing 4,800 square yards of concrete from medians, removal and reinstallation of 16 street lamps, installing 9,000 square feet of new concrete atop the median, and using 34,000 square feet of rock mulch, 25,000 square feet of wood mulch and planting 3,000 shrubs and grasses for landscaping.

Earlier this year, DHM Design, a Durango architecture firm, presented city officials with a concept plan for more elaborate welcome signs leading into Cortez from Towaoc, Dove Creek, Dolores and Mancos. Project designer Craig Stoffel said the goal is two-fold: with the need to represent diverse lifestyles and people-groups on one hand, and on the other, continuity.

On the historic stretch of Main Street, between Harrison and Maple, DHM has also proposed moveable planters, perhaps made of salvaged metal, inside the center turn lanes.