Town of La Jara discusses fresh water and wastewater systems

LA JARA — La Jara had a town hall meeting on Feb. 8. Among the topics discussed was the current state of the city's fresh and wastewater systems.

La Jara started an apprenticeship program for its maintenance department to become certified operators of record (ORC). These engineers ensure the water is safe and properly maintained.

Currently, Richard Hopp comes from Greeley to test the fresh water. Mark Foxworthy from Akron tests the wastewater. The town board was pleased with his work and "his constant communication."

Town Manager Larry Zaragoza said the town received a mini grant from the San Luis Valley Council of Governments (SLVCOG). This grant goes up to $10,000 and is a 50-50 match. The funds were used to put up an awning at the senior center. Small grants ($2,000) were available for "mom and pop businesses" like Mom and Pop's Kitchen, a restaurant in La Jara. The money helped improve the patio.

La Jara owns 17 acres that the town wants to use for affordable housing. Discussions continue on how to best utilize that land. Zaragoza would like to see part of the land saved for parks. There is only enough water right now to build 12-15 additional homes, just one of the many things to consider when building new houses, Zaragoza said.

The town board also talked about the issue of abandoned, vacant or deserted homes.

The town still needs a master plan for fresh water.

The town board also talked about completing several projects that will improve the town. Potholes caused by semi-trucks were fixed. The kitchen at the Catholic church was upgraded to better serve the community.

Trustee Curt Wilson said his family and others have seen and heard drones flying around his neighborhood. La Jara plans to reach out to other counties to see if they have had similar experiences and what their policies are related to drone flying in incorporated areas.