Part Two – We ♥ (Railyard @) Leadville
By Kathy Bedell, © Leadville Today
What’s going on at the “We ♥ Leadville” wall?
As the new Railyard @ Leadville development continues to kick up some old dirt, residents can hear directly from High Country Developers, LLC owner John Lichtenegger regarding their plans in this series of Leadville Today video interviews conducted in July 2017.
In Part One of the Railyard @ Leadville series, Lichtenegger discussed his Leadville connection, as well as what housing will look like in the new development. Today, the conversation turns to “curb-appeal.”
In fact, motorists should note that starting tomorrow, September 25 portions of U.S. Highway 24 will be detoured as S & A Excavating, Inc. of Leadville runs utilities across the roadway to connect with the new project. According to the schedule, this week should see the most activity with the entire excavation project expected to wrap up by October 15.
So, now that the development has been annexed into the City of Leadville, what can residents expect the new northern “entryway” to look like? And what’s happening at the Mountain View interchange at Highway 24 after a major retail anchor pulled out of the original plans for the intersection?
In this Railyard @ Leadville Video #3, Lichtenegger discusses the intersection that will now transition from a three-way into a four-way traffic exchange, and ultimately change Leadville’s status of a one-stop-light town. Readers may recall, earlier in the summer the news circulating that Kum & Go pulled out of their commitment to put in a sizable gas station on the northeast corner of the intersection, next to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts. So what happened? Lichtenegger explains that situation as well as what’s next for that intersection.
In this Railyard @ Leadville Video #2, High Country Developers owner John Lichtenegger discusses the Highway 24 curb appeal. What kind of street lighting will be used along Highway 24? How can the community provide input to the developer when it comes to “curb side” and what does the design concept look like concerning signage?
Eventually as the interview was drawing to a close on that July summer day, the “white elephant in the room,” or rather, the big “We ♥ Leadville” wall on the property, was finally addressed. WHAT are you going to do with the wall?
“I’ll tell you,” said Lichtenegger, “but this part of the interview will be off-the-record.”
Now, as any journalist whose career spans nearly four decades, with 28 of those years spent covering Leadville news, will tell you, it’s not the first time someone has thrown down those three-little-words. In fact, it’s usually a phrase bantered about in jest among friends and colleagues, particularly when the gossip of the day, more so than news, is being shared.
Today, when people say “off-the-record” to a reporter, they typically mean they don’t want the information to be attributed to them. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they don’t want the information to be revealed or uncovered, they just don’t want people to know it came from them.
But this was the owner of the Railyard @ Leadville. And it’s private property, so why not go on the record back in July and let people know what’s happening? This is the biggest development the community has seen in quite some time, if ever, so why off-the-record? Certainly a questionable way to lead, but when those three-little-words were spoken, the video camera was turned off.
Then Lichtenegger shared what High Country Developers was ACTUALLY going to do with one of the most beloved pieces of 20th century Leadville history. That was on July 17th.
Since that off-the-record conversation, there have been other “reports,” some from local builders, and others from Leadville musicians (!) concerning the plans for the Railyard @ Leadville. It was becoming clear the manner in which High Country Developers was choosing to disseminate information to its new neighbors in Leadville.
Then on September 5 came the “official” statement from Lichtenegger provided to Leadville Today by his daughter Leigh Flanagan, a former trail attorney turned real estate agent, who lives with her family on the Front Range. She is also a member of High Country Developers LLC, and the registered agent for the business on file with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
Since the September 5 letter, there’s word that even those plans may be changing.
Sometimes off-the-record can lead a journalist to a better understanding of the situation. Sometimes, not having the camera rolling tends to present a more honest conversation. And sometimes, those conversations should remain off-the-record . . . for now.
Let YOUR Voice Be Heard! Leadville Today was heard from dozens of readers regarding the “We ♥ Leadville” wall plans, as well as the upcoming occasion to mark those plans. If you haven’t made your voice known or want to share additional ideas and suggestions, please email email@example.com. You can also join the conversation on the Leadville Today Facebook Page. Whether you’ve lived here 20 years or 20 minutes, your voice matters in Leadville Today.