Snowmass workers help relieve flood damage
Three Snowmass Village government employees are lending a hand to help rebuild Estes Park in the aftermath of devastating floods there.
Brothers Scott and Will Binegar, as well as Ed Fuller, all from the Public Works Department, are taking turns working stints in a gravel pit, loading material that is being dredged from a lake and moving it to a crusher, which is repurposing it for rebuilding roads and utilities.
The men, along with some employees from Pitkin County and Aspen, were called on at the end of September after their names were put on a resource list for Front Range communities. Each jurisdiction contributed a loader, too.
“I liked going over there and helping them out,” said Fuller, who was the first Snowmass Village employee deployed and will return to Estes Park before the end of the month.
The impact of the flooding that Fuller saw “was pretty bad,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people up there working right now, trying to get through this, but it’s going to be a long time before they get back to normal,” Fuller said.
Scott Binegar followed Fuller with a stint starting Oct. 6. The men are rotating shifts so that they can all get the opportunity to volunteer without getting burnt out, as they are working up to 12-hour days while there.
“It’s nonstop,” Fuller said. “I ate my lunch on the loader just to keep up with the material for the crusher.”
Estes Park residents have appreciated the help, Binegar said.
“I know it’s rewarding for them to have some help from the outside because without some of the help that was there, they would have been very shorthanded on equipment and people to do the job they were doing,” Binegar said.
John Baker, interim public works director, said the employees are only helping out until Nov. 1 so that they don’t get burnt out before the winter season here. However, Pitkin County has offered resources to other communities, so the department is prepared to cover for the county if needed.
“Most small communities like this, or in any sort of devastation like this, they’re really short (on) resources, funding,” Baker said. “We all consider ourselves neighbors in the world of public works here and roads, so we always try to work together with other counties, the state, in any way we can to share resources.”
The men’s food and lodging is provided, so offering their time and equipment does not add costs to the town’s budget, Baker said. Still, he is documenting the department’s expenses and hoping the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse it.
In addition to the Public Works employees, a crew of Snowmass firefighters helped with rescue and evacuation efforts across the Front Range in September. Baker said Animal Services officers Tina White and Laurie Smith are on a waiting list to help, as well.
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Construction in Snowmass this summer will come with some lane and parking lot closures. Plus, Town Council appoints representatives to local boards and commissions.