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Main Street is key to the future of Delta County

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Dear Editor:

Delta County is faced with many challenges. Our county is a great place to live, but many residents, myself included, see our economic future going downhill and these trends will be difficult to stop without taking action. One vital issue that requires our attention is ownership of the Confluence Drive truck route.

It is a fact that the residents of the City of Delta voted to fund and build the project. Safety concerns topped the reasons for this decision. Many felt that the current truck and hazardous materials route has destroyed and endangered their Main Street. I have started a petition demanding that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) assume funding of the new truck route. I believe that CDOT is just as responsible for what has occurred with the truck route as is Delta. CDOT has failed to recognize the danger, noise and filth that is occurring with their truck route on Delta's Main Street. If this problem was occurring in the Denver area CDOT would have fixed it.

While collecting signatures, I have spoken with hundreds of people regarding the Confluence truck route. Confusion, frustration and anger dominate the conversations. The "solution" is already built and I feel confident that by year's end, CDOT will get the final approval from the Colorado State Patrol to designate Confluence Drive as the "official" truck route. At that point, some big challenges will start. CDOT may still refuse to fund Confluence Drive because it is not State Hwy. 50. Also, CDOT will continue to oversee Delta's Main Street as State Hwy. 50, restricting Delta's ability to improve economic development in the center of the city.

Delta has great plans to create a Main Street that people would want to visit. This cannot happen as long as Main Street is State Hwy. 50. Some people are clearly frustrated with politics in the area but "pointing fingers" is ineffective. It's time to move forward and think about the future. The communities in Delta County need to diversify their thinking regarding economic development. We need a plan that we can all work toward that has the greatest effect for the residents of Delta County.

The steps to take are: 1) Get the trucks off of Main Street; 2) CDOT designates Confluence Drive truck route as State Hwy. 50; 3) CDOT takes over the funding; 4) Delta assumes responsibility for Main Street.

This is not my idea. This is what Delta and Delta County Economic Development wants. I'm a citizen who has stepped up to raise awareness and help make it happen! This is just the beginning. Please join me in helping Delta County realize its great potential. Sign the petition online. You can find it on change.org. Simply search for "CDOT." Want a petition at your event or gathering? Call me at 856-3662.

Mark Eckhart
Delta County

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