Earth-moving set to begin for Gold Hill Mesa’s Phase 1

       The long-anticipated grading of Gold Hill Mesa's 56-acre Phase 1 area is due to begin next week, possibly as soon as Monday, March 14.
       According to developer Robert Willard, Cornella Brothers Excavating will be the contractor for the work.
       A security fence has been built around the area and dust-monitoring devices have been installed on three sides. Over the weekend, the monitors will record baseline numbers for dust in the air, and this information will be used for comparison purposes when Cornella gets started, Willard told the Westside Pioneer.
       Phase 1 is on the upper part of the 214-acre property, north of Lower Gold Camp Road but south of the existing Villa de Mesa subdivision. Willard's Gold Hill Mesa Township LLC has city approval to build 306 homes in two Phase 1 filings. Based on a city-approved concept plan for the whole property, more than 1,000 homes, as well as commercial facilities are anticipated for construction over the next several years.
       For transitioning purposes, the current grading area will also include areas outside of Phase 1, Willard said.
       The grading will include eliminating the 20-to-30-foot knob along Lower Gold Camp Road and filling in the bowl-like area behind it. The idea is to create even terrain down to Villa de Mesa and to contour for a future road up from the site to 21st Street - there currently is a drop-off of 10 or so feet on the Gold Hill side - in line with Skyview Lane.
       Willard is the manager of Gold Hill Mesa Township, LLC, a group of investors which has planned the project over the past several years.
       He said a member of his group had suggested there be a ceremony to mark the start of the earth-moving. However, “I'd rather not make it a big issue,” he said. “The property has been there 50 years, and people will be relieved to see (the tailings area eliminated). There's no big ceremony when you build a ship; it's only when you launch a ship.”
       The LLC had hoped to have the grading done by fall 2004, with houses already being built, but there have been delays, chiefly related to concerns about chemical tailings in the soil - carryovers from the days when the site was used for the chief mill for Cripple Creek gold.
       Still, Willard said other planning has continued in the meantime, and he now expects at least eight model homes to be in the ground by this fall.
       The three perimeter dust monitors are part of the effort to ensure that excessive amounts of dust do not blow off the property. To help control the dust problem during what he termed the windiest part of the year, Willard plans to require that water trucks be on site at all times and no work be done if winds exceed 30 mph.
       Another precaution will be dust monitors that will be worn by the workers on site, to make sure they are not excessively exposed, he said.

Westside Pioneer article