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Monday, June 14, 2021

Urban Renewal Authority looking to hire consultant

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By Joe Napolitan

Staff Writer

During its meeting on Thursday, May 13, the Pagosa Springs Urban Renewal Authority (URA) commission voted unanimously to request that the Pagosa Springs Town Council fund a proposal for SEH Design and Engineering to assist the URA with its projects in an amount not to exceed $4,968.

Andrew Arnold, a planner for SEH Design and Engineering’s Durango branch, gave a presentation to the town council during a meeting on April 22 that outlined the company’s experience in assisting the city of Durango in its renewal partnership. 

Town Manager Andrea Phillips expressed she believes that experience could be valuable to the Pagosa Springs community.

“After that meeting, I was thinking that it might be of the URA board to consider engaging the services of a consultant who could help engage the public more and do some better planning,” said Phillips during the meeting on May 13. “I reached out to SEH because I felt that their experience with Durango’s planning process could help us over here. I think Andrew really exhibited an understanding of our needs here which includes workforce housing.”

The agenda brief states that the scope of work requested will not be a full conditions survey, but enough to help move the URA forward with identifying project areas and a more well-rounded assessment of the potential for them. It will also focus on increasing public and stakeholder awareness and participation.

“I think it’s a good idea to try to engage the public and also to do education,” said board member Greg Schulte. “I hope that this will also provide a road map for us. I think it’s personally a wise investment into the future of the URA.”

In its response to the town manager’s letter, SEH stated that Nancy Dosdall and Arnold will work with town staff and the URA commission to organize a public outreach campaign. This campaign will feature two meetings with the public, key stakeholders and appropriate organizations.

The scope and cost estimate goes on to outline that the team will identify potential renewal project areas that align with historic community input before arranging a public meeting summit. At the summit, the SEH team will present strategies the community can use to effectively create a renewal project. Information interpreted from discussions held by the attendees will then allow SEH to produce a map of potential renewal “districts” and the feasibility of a renewal project in each district.

The estimate states that after receiving input from the appropriate stakeholders, organizations and taxing entities, a final meeting will be organized to present the SEH team’s findings and analysis.

“I think that having an outside perspective that’s objective is really going to garner a little more support rather than having a developer approach us initially,” said board member Madeline Bergon. “I’m in full support of us hiring a consultant.”

The SEH proposal for planning assistance for the URA was subsequently added to the agenda for the town council’s meeting for this evening, Thursday, May 20. The agenda can be viewed at: https://pagosasprings.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=680.

joe@pagosasun.com

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