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Cortez City Council Meets With Public On Medians and Retains Sheek As Mayor

Austin Cope

Critics of plans to install medians in downtown Cortez largely stayed away from a public meeting Thursday about those plans. Although median naysayers have been vocal on social media and some expressed vociferous opposition to the project at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, only two dozen people attended the Thursday get-together. City Public Works Director Phil Johnson explained that the plans involve putting raised, landscaped medians in the center of four blocks to help slow traffic and beautify the area. The medians will be just 6 feet wide, narrower than the current 12-foot center lane. They will be 160 feet long, leaving room at each end for turns onto side streets. Several people raised concerns, especially about the impacts to semi trucks delivering goods to local businesses, but city officials said the alleyways downtown will also be improved as part of the project. Johnson said semis that can’t fit in the alleys will have to find ways to adjust their deliveries.

The Cortez City Council decided Tuesday on a 5 to 2 vote that Karen Sheek will retain her position as mayor. Both Sheek and Orly Lucero, who has served as mayor in the past, were nominated for the post. But Lucero withdrew himself from consideration, leaving Sheek the only one in the running. However, Lucero and new member Gary Noyes nevertheless voted no to Sheek’s nomination. Lucero was then unanimously chosen as mayor pro tem.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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