Broomfield girl gets mayor's 'thank you' for flood fund gift
By Jeanne Davant
The Hendrickson family of Broomfield has an unusual way of celebrating their birthdays. Each year, family members choose a worthy cause and raise money to donate to it.
A few days after Elleayn Hendrickson turned 8 last September 9, the news was full of reports about the season’s second flood in Manitou. Footage and photos of a storm drain on Canon Avenue gushing water several feet into the air went viral on the Internet.
“I saw cars in the water on the news,” Elleayn said. “It started getting bigger and bigger, and I thought maybe I should donate to Manitou.”
Elleayn asked friends and family for contributions and gathered $250. Her mom, Tasandre Hendrickson, wrote a check and sent it to the city.
In return, Elleayn received a thank-you letter from Mayor Marc Snyder.
“The mayor said I sent it at a really good time,” she said, “and if I ever came to Manitou Springs to visit him.”
Elleayn, her mother and her older sister Brooklyn took him up on that invitation on Tuesday evening.
In town for a two-day girls’ getaway, they dropped by City Hall and Elleayn fourth-grader for her thoughtfulness.
The Hendricksons spent the rest of Tuesday walking around downtown and shopping, and had plans to visit the Cliff Dwellings on Wednesday before returning home to Broomfield.
One of the highlights of the trip for Elleayn was an Italian dinner Tuesday night at Savelli’s, near their motel.
Tasandre Hendrickson said this was the first time Elleayn had gotten a personal thank-you for a birthday donation. Snyder’s letter is framed on her wall.
Elleayn will be a fourth-grader at Emerald Elementary School in Broomfield this fall.
Asked how she would like her donation used, she said, “I hope they make it for all the community things that got lost and that it can help out.”
Photo by Jeanne Davant
Retail marijuana makes debut in county, city
With the official opening less than 48 hours away and with workers swarming over the construction site taking care of last-minute tasks, Dan Herman, owner of Avalon Development Company LLC, was not only calm and collected as he surveyed the work, but also amazed at the transition that had occurred.
“We’re on schedule,” he said, looking at the refurbished building. “It’s been a lot of hard work but we made it. It’s been phenomenal, what happened. This used to be a Conoco station and then a muffler shop.”
Tuesday, Herman and his company were definitely heading into the home stretch, having nearly completed the building that will become Maggie’s Farm, the first retail marijuana store in El Paso County, at 141 Manitou Ave. After months of working six and seven days a week, crews were down to a few remaining details, including landscaping touches and cleanup of debris.
“We’ll also be putting up temporary signs while the main sign undergoes some revisions,” Herman said.
Todd Case, a manager with Maggie’s Farm who has overseen much of the work, shared Herman’s assessment of the construction progress.
“It’s going great,” he said Tuesday. “Everything’s coming together. Bill (Conkling, the owner), hopes to make this opening as perfect as possible, and we think we’re very close.”
Conkling owns multiple locations of Maggie’s Farm, with medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Canon City. The company plans to utilize its Manitou location as a retail store before adding a medical component at a future date.
The store’s opening was scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, July 30. Management originally envisioned a “soft” opening with a minimum of publicity and advertising to mitigate anticipated traffic problems. But local media squelched that plan as television stations aired special reports and newspapers published “exclusive” stories, generating a sense that history was in the making.
As a result, Thursday’s opening of Maggie’s Farm was expected to draw an overflow crowd. To handle the anticipated volume of vehicles, the company has hired traffic directors who have been approved by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Also standing by will be the Manitou Springs Police Department, which this week issued a statement that was partly a press release and partly a heads-up warning with a positive spin and a plug for the free shuttle buses:
“The City encourages people to take advantage of the free parking and shuttle service behind Tajine Alami, located at 10 Old Mans Trail. This free shuttle has a drop-off in the area of 141 Manitou Ave.”
The press release also said that Manitou police will be standing by to monitor and assist with traffic control issues “as necessary.”
Throughout the process of approving the Maggie’s Farm marijuana operation, traffic congestion has been one of the biggest concerns and a recurring talking point.
Specifically, the entrance to the store for westbound traffic shares a narrow strip of pavement with the adjacent Loaf ‘N Jug that could easily become a bottleneck when delivery trucks — or high volumes of traffic — are present.
Gil Price, chairman of the Manitou Springs Planning Commission, spotted the potential problem early on, and he said westbound drivers were likely to become confused at the access arrangement.
Manitou Mayor Marc Snyder also commented on the traffic-flow plan, noting that many westbound drivers are likely to go past the store and then make U-turns near the swimming pool and Sinclair station.
Parking also could be a potential problem in the early going. The parking lot at Maggie’s Farm is designed to accommodate 21 vehicles. Additionally, the company has leased 37 additional spaces from the nearby vacant building that formerly housed a car museum and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Presumably, the hired traffic directors will funnel vehicles to that extra parking lot if necessary.
The refurbished 1,580-square-foot building will be one of the most secure in Manitou Springs. The business will feature surveillance cameras to monitor all entrances as well as the interior and exterior premises; monitored robbery and burglar alarm systems; a locking safe permanently affixed to the premises; exterior lighting to illuminate outside walls; and deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
Other security measures are known only by store and law enforcement officials.
Update: Maggie's Farm opened around 4:30 p.m. on July 31.