Nearly A Year Post-Flood, Evans Is Rebuilding, Improving
When floodwaters inundated parts of the City of Evans Sept. 13, 2013, homes were damaged or destroyed, roads were made impassable and the city’s main wastewater treatment plant was heavily damaged. 11 months on, the city has greatly recovered, but there’s still work to do.
Former Evans Fire Chief Warren Jones has just settled into his job as the city’s Flood Recovery Manager. He said nearly a year after 2013’s historic flooding his city is where it wants to be recovery wise.
“I spend some time talking to my colleagues around the state and we’re ahead of some of them in some areas and behind in others,” said Jones.
Two mobile home parks destroyed during the flooding are in the final stages of clean up. Earlier, there was concern the debris and damaged homes in the parks would cause a public health hazard.
“One of them has been completely cleared of debris and is now ready for whatever the owner wants to do with that in terms of redevelopment on that,” Jones said. “The one on the south side of the road, Eastwood Village, that is in the process of being cleared right now by the property owner. So there’s a lot of activity out there right now with those old mobile homes being scrapped or taken away.”
Jones said it should be another month before that area is completely cleared.
The city has received a $1 million grant from the state which will be used, in part, to maintain and repair the current wastewater treatment plant until a new facility can be built in the next three to five years.
Jones said that the city has adapted post-flood to dealing with the mountains of red tape and paperwork which comes with securing funding from state, federal and other grant providers.
“Anyone that’s dealt with the federal government knows that is a major project. And that is consuming most all of my time, as well as a number of our staff members here dealing with the grants and the loans and all of the projects,” he said.
While the fear of another massive flood is on the minds of everyone in the city, Jones said Evans is prepared should disaster strike yet again,
“We do have a halftime emergency preparedness planner on staff now that is working on hazard communication, notification system,” said Jones. “And we are working closely with the Weld County Office of Emergency Management as well as the City of Greeley.”
He said the city is doing the best it can with its relatively small size adding that municipalities across the Front Range are now more in tune to disaster preparedness and improving their ability to predict how they’ll play out in the future.