Fort Lupton officials hail success of Old-Fashioned Fourth of July

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By Jeremy Johnson

FORT LUPTON — A July 9 town hall meeting comprising of about a half dozen Fort Lupton city officials turned impromptu celebration of a celebration as they discussed the successes of their inaugural Fourth of July event.

There was plenty of praise to go around as officials discussed what they felt was a fine way to kick off a new Fourth of July tradition.

One person not there to share in the fanfare was the one receiving most kudos. Mona Sandoval was appointed this year to help organize the inaugural Independence Day event, along with the upcoming Trapper Days, and Mayor Tommy Holton, assistant city administrator Aaron Herrera and others said Sandoval’s commitment went above and beyond their expectations.

That’s why, if so inclined to help organize the events again in 2015, Sandoval could find herself the beneficiary of a pay raise.

“Mona needs a raise because she worked her butt off,” Holton said. “She put in a lot of time. She was great.”

Herrera offered some figures reflecting the event’s success: He said more than 500 sliders were sold and 42 pancake breakfasts served; the event raised more than $5,700 for local nonprofit organizations, while the $24,000 festival netted an additional $4,319 to go toward next year’s festival or the upcoming Trapper Days.

Most popular, Herrera said, were the free offerings available to visitors: Ice cream, hand fans and glow sticks – after dark – were all hot commodities, he said.

Herrera said the entertainment aspect of the day was also well received.

As for logistics, Holton and other council praised Herrera and his team for keeping the city clean. Herrera said the city’s streets department stepped up to the occasion, and said they were all assisted in their effort by Weld County work release participants, who made the transition from party back to tidy town on Saturday extra easy.

Herrera and others related hearing much positive feedback in the days following the event, but all agreed it could be even better. While Herrera estimated between 800 and 1,000 visitors, he and others think Fort Lupton could handle more.

“I think we could’ve handled more,” Herrera said. “Turnout could have been a little better. But … I imagine it will get bigger and bigger year after year as more people come to know about it.”

Meaning Sandoval’s duties could be even greater come next year.

What Sandoval’s role will look like next year and what the city will offer in compensation is a matter of discussion come budget time, Holton and others agreed.

Park, potty talk

Herrera told council and others that the Lion’s Club is volunteering to tackle some maintenance and renovations at Koshio Park, directly across from City Hall on McKinley Street.

Herrera said the group is looking to repair an aging pavilion structure at the park, including adding a new roof.

Discussions of the park also came around to another, city-funded project slated to be completed before summer’s end. Herrera and other officials discussed the addition of a full-service restroom in Koshio, something the city had set $35,000 aside for already, but that Herrera said would cost a few dollars more.

“$35,000 is unfortunately not going to get it done,” Herrera said, adding that it would likely be about an additional $10,000 or more for basic, prefabricated structures. He said he had researched a particular company that could come in and drop a prefabricated structure in with little to no problems.

The only issue council members had with the design of the facilities – Herrera passed a flier around for example – was the lack of multiple toilets within the facility. So council suggested, when installing the structure, to prep pipes for the addition of a new potty down the road.