Gold Hill Mesa grading start seen now as no sooner than mid-February

       Grading on Gold Hill Mesa's Phase 1 area is not due to start now until at least mid-February.
       As recently as mid-December, the work had been pegged to start in early January so as to avoid the windy months of March and April. But a variety of issues - including a city drainage concern, an internal need for more details as well as “that annual fact of our lives called the Christmas Holidays” - resulted in the start date getting “delayed a little bit,” according to developer Robert Willard.
       He said he plans to compensate by having two water trucks on site during the grading operation to wet the dust and keep it from blowing. “We'll have water trucks out there even when we're not working,” he said, noting that typical grading operations have just one water truck - only while working - or none at all.
       The grading delay is not a huge surprise, considering that a year ago Willard had optimistically predicted homes would already be under construction last year, and six months ago he was hopeful that grading could take place by fall 2004. But the complex nature of the project - occurring as it is on the site of what was once the area's biggest gold mill - has repeatedly led to health, safety and/or engineering uncertainties that have caused the schedule to be pushed back.
       Phase 1 is a roughly 56-acre area on the highest part of the property, just north of Lower Gold Camp Road, on which Willard's Gold Hill Mesa Township LLC has city approval to build 306 homes.
       Construction of the first homes in the 168-unit Filing 1 of Phase 1 is tentatively planned now for late summer, according to Willard.
       For the grading, bid packages have been delivered to the area's “major earth-movers,” with bids due back by Jan. 31. “We'll let the contract the following week,” he said. “The current plan is to start moving dirt the week of Feb. 14.”
       The grading will include leveling the roughly 30-foot-high knobs along that part of Lower Gold Camp. The resulting dirt will be used to help fill in and level the Phase 1 area, according to Willard.
       He added that the LLC is working with Villa de Mesa residents in locating a temporary fence to protect the existing subdivision off 21st Street during construction. The fence and dust monitors are to be installed before the grading starts, he said.
       The extra grading precautions relate to concerns about the fine tailing dust still present on the site from the former Golden Cycle gold mill. Old-timers till talk about how the tailing dust would blow through the Westside, getting into houses even through closed windows.

Westside Pioneer article