The Town of Lyons “Main Street Project” won an award from the American Public Works Association (APWA) Colorado Chapter this past week. The APWA voted the Lyons project an award for “Engineering/Construction Management in a Small Community.” When Administrator Victoria Simonsen, Economic Development and Community Relations Manager Jacque Watson, Town Attorney Tim Cox, and
Town Engineer Jim Blankenship (who oversaw and directed the project) went to Denver to receive the award, they received an added surprise and honor; the APWA also presented the Town of Lyons with the very prestigious “Project of the Year Award” for the entire state of Colorado! This wasn’t just up against projects from small communities across the state like: Rifle, Brush, Nederland, or Ouray. This was competing against all projects throughout the state, including ones by the likes of: Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins, and Grand Junction etc.
The vision of “Main Street Project” began many years ago as simply a much needed sewer and water line replacement project, and became one of the largest municipal improvement projects the Town of Lyons has ever undertaken. The 1.8 million dollar project was funded by multiple agencies, including the Federal Government (ARRA stimulus money), the State of Colorado (CDOT and the Denver Regional Council of Governments), and monies from the Town’s water/sewer enterprise fund.
The challenges of revitalizing Lyons’ historic downtown included working in state highway rights-of-way; with one-way streets; a narrow corridor where buildings on one side of the street are as much as two feet higher than their counterparts, varying soil conditions and implementing current design standards required to obtain federal funding while maintaining the ambiance and pedestrian friendly environment that reflects Lyons’ character. All this, plus an unrelenting winter that dumped the first snow and frigid temperatures in early October (2009) two weeks after beginning of the project, and didn’t let up until late March or early April (2010).
A critical aspect of the project was to define the schedule and means to expedite the project while minimizing impacts to small businesses. Jim Blankenship of JLB Civil Engineering coordinated efforts between Lawson Construction, Hirschfeld Backhoe, Winston and Associates, Loris and Associates, Clanton and Associates, and Hydro-Systems-KDI, to complete the design and construction by all Federal and State deadlines.
American Public Works Association is an international educational and professional association of public agencies, private sector companies, and individuals dedicated to providing high quality public works goods and services. Originally chartered in 1937, APWA is the largest and oldest organization of its kind in the world, with headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, an office in Washington, D.C., and 64 chapters throughout North America. APWA provides a forum in which public works professionals can exchange ideas, improve professional competency, increase the performance of their agencies and companies, and bring important public works-related topics to public attention in local, state, and federal arenas.
The “Main Street Project” also received the Downtown Colorado, Inc. 2010 Governor’s Award for Downtown Excellence last October. These awards, and the new streetscape are something everyone from Lyons can take pride in.
“Before and After” shots of Main Street