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Accessibility, safety improvements planned for downtown

Idaho Springs has received a $50,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation that it will use to improve the downtown area, such as ADA ramps, crosswalks and signage.

The money comes from CDOT’s Revitalize Main Street Grant Program and must be spent by the end of 2020. The overall goal, city staff members said, is to make downtown safer and more accessible for all modes of transportation.

During a Sept. 14 City Council work session, Assistant City Administrator Jonathan Cain outlined the five tasks city staff intends to accomplish with this funding.

Approximately $27,000 will go toward replacing street signs and improving wayfinding to points of interest for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.

About $12,000 will be used to improve ADA ramps in the 1300 block of Miner Street in front of Carlson Elementary, at the intersection of 13th Avenue and Miner Street, and at the intersection of 17th Avenue and Miner Street.

Another $5,400 will fund bike racks and benches. Cain proposed a few spots, saying he wanted to keep the Greenway in mind but added that nothing’s been finalized yet.

About $3,200 will be used to install new crosswalks along the Idahoe Mall and Miner Street.

The last $2,400 will go toward restriping projects, including a school bus loading zone along 13th Avenue next to Carlson Elementary. City Administrator Andy Marsh said the restriping wouldn’t cause a loss of parking, although the few spots on the west side of the street might be adjusted farther north.

While all these projects must be completed before Dec. 31, Mayor Mike Hillman said the city doesn’t have a timeline yet.

The Bee’s Knees requests change to liquor license requirements 

The Bee’s Knees, 1430 Miner St., has requested the City Council allow an exception to the municipal code so it can obtain a liquor license.

The topic was first broached during the Sept. 14 City Council meeting and was scheduled to be discussed more during Monday’s work session.

According to City Clerk Diane Breece, the state liquor code says license-holders cannot be within 500 feet of a school, though municipalities may change that requirement.

Idaho Springs allows those with hotel & restaurant and brewpub liquor licenses to be no more than 175 feet from a school, she said. Thus, Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub and other liquor-license-holding restaurants are closer than 500 feet to Carlson Elementary.

Regarding Kum & Go, City Attorney Carmen Beery explained that, because of the previous state law saying gas stations could only sell 3.2 percent beer, it was exempt from the 500-foot rule, and when the state law changed to allow for full beer, Kum & Go was grandfathered in.

Meanwhile, The Bee’s Knees, an antique shop, is 192 feet away from Carlson Elementary, and based on the type of liquor license it needs, it must follow the 500-foot rule unless the City Council changes the code, Breece explained.

Margaret Smith of The Bee’s Knees said she intends to apply for a license to serve beer and wine only. Smith said the intent of the law was superseded by the exceptions, and she saw no reason the City Council shouldn’t make an exception for her business as well.

Mayor Mike Hillman said he felt uncomfortable changing the municipal code for liquor licenses, adding, “I believe that these regulations were put into place for good reason.”