IT’S Monday, Aug. 1, and we’ve dispatched a team of photographers to document a typical Day in the Life of the San Luis Valley – Year 2. Our cameras will get as far and wide as we can travel in a day across the expansive Valley we call home. It’s not one town but a collection spread along 122 miles long and 74 miles wide, yielding a diverse collection of souls living together in one of the highest and largest valleys in the world.
We’ll try our best to show a typical Monday in the towns and down the country roads. We’ll publish the pictorial on Wednesday. Other news bits to get your week started:
1. Walsh Hotel demolition
One way or the other, the city of Alamosa is intent on seeing the Walsh Hotel (at top) demolished and a new development created as part of a Sixth Street corridor revitalization. It can either happen by the owner of the property, Brian Lamoreaux of BPL Ventures, LLC, or by the city working with a contractor to demolish the Walsh.
In a July 25 letter, the city of Alamosa put Lamoreaux on notice, giving him until Aug. 25 to provide the city with a contract for asbestos mitigation and demolition or the city would move ahead itself with the demolition. You can the read the full letter HERE.
Lamoreaux has three options, said the city’s Development Services Director Rachel Baird:
1.) He demolishes the building. 2.) The city demolishes it and charges a lien against the property to recoup the cost of demolition. 3.) He sells it to the city for the amount he paid for it – $50,000 – so the city is eligible to apply for an EPA brownfield grant to fund the demolition.
The city wants to see the demolition started by Sept. 26, according to the letter.
2. Those record July rains
Back-to-back months of above normal precipitation levels for Alamosa and the Valley. July brought 1.62 inches of rain as of the 30th, above the historic norm of 1.04 inches. June also ran above normal by .84 inches. “The monsoons have been really good this year,” according to the National Weather Service Pueblo office. And while the rains are good, it’s the winter snowpack and snow runoff that matters most when you’re thinking about the Upper Rio Grande Basin and the health of the Valley’s ecosystem.
3. Update: SLRG
If you’ve been following along you know last Friday at 5 p.m. was the deadline to submit a bid of least $5.75 million to purchase the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. We spoke to William Brandt after Friday’s deadline and he said “one bid in particular seems promising” and “I don’t think we’ll have an auction” and “I do think we’re on the cusp of a successful bid.” We decipher that to mean he might have one bid that meets the minimum amount and until a deposit is made and the railroad trustee petitions the court to accept the bid, there’s no certainty yet that the short freight line railroad will come out of bankruptcy.
Brandt said the one bid he feels good about would also make the counties that are owed back taxes happy. We’ll be tracking the bankruptcy filings this week to stay up to date. In the meantime here are two other stories that help understand where things stand: Bids due Friday for the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad and San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad must handle freight, first and foremost.
4. On The Valley Pod: Monte Vista Police Chief Dingfelder
He’s been on the job for two years as police chief in Monte Vista, hired in June of 2020 after 25 years with the Colorado State Patrol. George Dingfelder brings a level of experience and professionalism to the job that benefits Monte Vista and the entire law enforcement community of the San Luis Valley. Listen to our conversation HERE.
5. Beat the Heat Weekend
Teams from Texas, Colorado, the Valley’s backyard and elsewhere travel in for Beat the Heat BBQ & Brews at Cole Park on Aug 5 & 6. The two-day event kicks off on Friday with Kids Q, followed by the Bloody Mary Showdown hosted by 1874 Distilling. Jams will come from AHGADAZE starting at 7 p.m., and the Brewers Classic Cornhole Tournament starts with the band. Both Square Peg Brewerks and San Luis Valley Brewing Company will be on tap at the beer garden all evening. Saturday brings the Hogwaller Mud Run hosted by San Luis Valley Sports and Wellness, People’s Choice BBQ sampling, the Square Peg Brewerks Craft Beer Fest, vendors, activities, and yard games for all ages. The full lineup is at www.slvbeattheheat.com.
6. SLV Fair Weekend
If you’ve never been, you should. The 120th San Luis Valley County Fair gets underway and runs through Aug. 13 at the Ski Hi Stampede Fairgrounds and Events Complex in Monte Vista. From the 4-H Dog Show to the dairy goats, swine and market beef show, the SLV Fair shows off the Valley’s most committed young farmers and 4-H exhibitors. Give it a try. The 2022 Fair Book will give you the rundown of events by day, time and location. All at SLVFair.com.
7. P.S. from Suzie:
Del Norte Covered Wagon Days Weekend
Suzie Off reminds everyone that it’s Covered Wagon Days in Del Norte this weekend, Aug. 5-7, and she sent along an invitation to the Val Alto Pancake Breakfast on Saturday. “In conjunction with Del Norte’s Covered Wagon Days Val Alto Fellowship Club organized in 1953, invites you to our Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, Aug. 6, from 7 to 9 a.m. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of Del Norte and the 50th anniversary of Covered Wagon Days and many activities are on tap for the weekend. The breakfast is held at the High Valley Community Center courtyard, 595 Grande Ave. Pancakes, sausages, and drinks are provided. Prices are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. All proceeds are donated back into the community. For information call Suzie 719-657-2350.”
Thanks, Suzie. We appreciate the information.