Town of Meeker takes next step for roundabout on Sulphur Creek

MEEKER I Homeowners along Sulphur Creek Road once again expressed vehement dislike of proposed changes to the road.
The town has been awarded a $595,000 state energy impact grant toward the project, which will include adding sidewalks and building a roundabout at the intersection of Sulphur Creek Road and Ute Road. With the grant approved, soils testing can begin, which is the first step toward the final design phase.
The roundabout, and the sidewalks, have become a point of contention. Homeowners have expressed fears about their driveways opening up onto a sidewalk, or in the case of one homeowner, directly into the roundabout.
Mayor Mandi Etheridge attempted to allay concerns, reassuring the property owners at the meeting that the board has taken all their concerns into consideration, and is determined to look at the picture as a whole and how it will affect the entire community.
“If anything, the changes that may be seen with the new road and intersection will be a decrease in speed. It is probably an advantage to have an intersection on that road, regardless. Sulphur Creek Road, as it is today, is too fast, and the access to the rec district and the fairgrounds is probably not ideal,” Etheridge said. “We’ve been able to find what we feel is the safest and smartest way to deal with it.”
Homeowner Lenny Reck, whose driveway opens directly into the roundabout in the initial design, said, “It sounds like you have your minds ma­de up about putting an intersection at the bottom of my driveway. We’re building this whole thing for less than 5 percent of the population.”
His wife, Peggy Reck, added, “I don’t mind backing into a roundabout, but I do mind having to worry about a bunch of kids. At least consider moving the pedestrian traffic to the other side.”
Reck left the meeting abruptly, obviously upset.
“I’m not happy,” Lenny Reck continued. “I figure we’ve got two choices, move or stay. You want a roundabout at the end of your driveway?”
Homeowner Nancy Harris questioned whether the general public has been made aware of the project, and its expense.
“To spend this kind of money on a roundabout just doesn’t sound right,” she said. “I don’t agree with anything that you said about safety, entrance, what the sidewalks are going to do to the property owners on the end. Is the public aware that you’re going to spend $330K more on this little project?”
Town Administrator Sharon Day explained that while the cost of the project has not gone up, the energy impact fund didn’t grant as much as was requested.
Faced with the need to move forward, Etheridge stated, “Unfortunately, it becomes our job as trustees of the town to make unpopular decisions. I regret that you guys don’t agree with our reasoning up here, but we may have to agree to disagree.”
Trustee John Strate agreed. “It’s a tough decision, but I feel like it’s the right decision for safety.”
Strate motioned to move ahead with the current plan, Regas Halandras seconded the motion.