There’s an improvement project on Maine Street in Eads that is making gains this week and when completed will help extensively with not only the infrastructure on the historic street but also enhance the aesthetic beauty even more.
Kiowa County Economic Development Foundation (KCEDF) Director Cindy McLoud successfully wrote a $98,000 Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) grant through their Revitalization Main Streets Program for the Town of Eads in order to repair more than a city block of dangerous and broken sidewalks. The two areas of enhancement include the block in front of the Crow-Luther Cultural Events Center, Plains Theater, Maine Scoop Ice Cream Shoppe and the old senior citizen’s building that now serves as the EMT Training space.
A second area of improvement in the sidewalks includes on the east side of the street in a new section that runs from the empty building commonly known as the Triangle Clothiers, running to the south in front of the new salon that is almost ready to open for business, and then further south to the edge of the old building known as the Goff Hotel.
In all, the equivalence of a full city block of new sidewalk will be installed by the project.
Unfortunately, the project required the one tree in front of the new salon and three trees on the Crow-Luther Cultural Events Center block to be taken out as through the years their root systems have become the culprit of not only a broken and collapsed sidewalk, but also a breaking curb and gutter system.
Once it was determined that the trees and the entire sidewalk and curb and gutter system in front of the Crow-Luther Cultural Events Center, whose buildings are owned by the Town of Eads, would have to be redone, the Town decided it would be a good time to replace the water pipes running from the water meters into the commercial buildings themselves.
These lines are original and estimated to be nearly 75 years old.
The grant requires the trees to be removed, water pipes replaced, a new curb and gutter system installed and new sidewalk to be poured that will have a much better drainage system than what has currently hampered the Cultural Center since it was reopened in 2006.
The entire project began when the Crow-Luther Cultural Events Center wanted to replace the dangerous sidewalk in front of the Plains Theater and the Maine Scoop Ice Cream Shoppe in late 2019. They decided they would sell engraved bricks that would replace some of the cement and also help pay for the work. Nearly 200 bricks were sold, and an order was being finalized in late February 2020—then, well—catastrophe hit the nation in the form of a pandemic that closed the theater twice and closed the engraving company for many months.
It took more than a year to get the brick order in and the bricks delivered to the theater. Once they finally arrived last November, a planning committee looked at the architectural plans for the new sidewalk, a contractor gave some input, and Van Brown, Town of Eads Engineer gave his recommendation, as well.
All those involved agreed that simply putting down a new sidewalk and adding the bricks would not work until the underlying issues were resolved—those being the extensive damage of the curb and gutter system caused by the tree roots.
That’s when KCEDF stepped in and offered to help find money to do the project up right. By the time McLoud was finished, she had located enough money to fix the sidewalk on the next block, remove the trees, replace the curb and gutter, replace the old water pipes, pour new sidewalk, lay the bricks and provide new planters and vegetation to enhance the look on the street.
The trees were cut down today and this week the sidewalk and curb and gutter will be torn out. Maine Street already looks a lot different, but soon, the street will be charming with a brick-lined sidewalk, new planters, and—most importantly a new appealing Maine Street.