Cyclists 4 Community sat down with Jamestown Mayor, Tara Schoedinger to get an update about the developments going on in the town, the effect they are having on the community, and what still needs to be done.
C4C: Can you give us an update on the rebuilding efforts in Jamestown?
Tara: 90% of the community is back home, 10% is still displaced. There were 45 damaged homes and 17 houses destroyed by the flood. Four of the destroyed homes have been worked on over the last few months. One has been rebuilt and completed, a second one should be done in in the next month, a third should be done in April and May and they will be breaking ground on a fourth house this week.
The Elysian Park project has been completed with the EPA, we have completed 1.2 million dollars in restoration of the stream corridor, and of the 52% of roads destroyed, there are only 2 places left that are not permanently repaired. The new firehouse is completed and open as well.
C4C: What is the current focus of the rebuilding efforts?
Tara: Bringing the community home, and that means drinking water. We just got running water this past August and we now have drinking water starting this last November. Getting the drinking water in town allowed the elementary school to reopen and for families to move back in town. We have 50% of the distribution system working on temporary repairs and we are going to start a 2 million dollar upgrade to the system.
Our other main focuses are on the town square project that will start in the fall of 2016 and developing a 3-5 year long-term recovery plan.
C4C: How are the people and the community of Jamestown handling the situation?
Tara: Feelings are all over the board. Some are happy with the progress and optimistic, but there is still some depression. On a whole the community is happy the community is coming back together.
C4C: What is still needed to help Jamestown in the rebuilding efforts? How can people help?
Tara: Starting this spring and summer we are going need a lot of volunteers. Right now, the people returning to there homes need hep replacing furniture, linens, dishes, and other household items that were lost in the flood.
C4C: As cyclists, what can we do to help Jamestown rebuild and strengthen the relationship between cyclists, motorists, and town?
Tara: Come up and visit the Merc! Be aware that the canyon is still not safe. In some places there are no climbing lanes. Be careful, ride single file, and share the road. Also, drive up and visit the Merc in the evening for food and live music.