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Crowley County town struggles to address drainage, road concerns

ORDWAY, Colo. (KRDO) -- This small town 50 miles east of Pueblo is having big issues with roads and poor drainage.

But resolving those issues isn't easy in a community with a population of just under 1,100 people.

"This is the poorest county in the U.S.," said Mayor Jerry Barber. "There's not much money to go around."

According to Barber, Ordway is at the lowest point in Crowley County -- so, all of the surrounding storm drainage flows through the town and causes periodic street flooding that drains slowly.

It's worse, the mayor says, because neighboring landowners have sold their water rights and no longer operate farms that soaked up much of the runoff.

The flooding has accelerated the deterioration of many roads in town, he said.

"We put a lot put a lot of time and work into it trying to fix it," he explained. "We're not where we want to be. And funding is always an issue down here. That leads to our generating and trying to do the drainage study, and the street study, and everything. We're starting out with trying to get that $30,000 in for us. That's the key."

Barber said that around $40,000 has been spent on efforts to curb the flooding, such as curb, gutter and drain improvements and removing debris from drainage ditches.

"We could probably spend another $2 million," he said.

Tom Campos, a lifelong resident who owns the Hotel Ordway, said that drainage and road issues have existed for years, and he hopes that town leadership is spending its revenue wisely.

"In a small community, it's hard not to to bump into other situations where you're having to tell somebody they need to do this, without hurting their feelings," he said.

Barber said that the recent improvements have lessened the severity of street flooding around homes.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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