Johnstown Town Board to reconsider I-25 interchange investment after backlash | MyWindsorNow.com
Tyler Silvy
tsilvy@greeleytribune.com

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Johnstown Town Board to reconsider I-25 interchange investment after backlash

Backlash from surrounding political leaders, developers and some residents has led the Johnstown Town Board to reconsider its Tuesday decision to shortchange its expected contribution to the Colo. 402 interchange at Interstate 25.

The $16 million project, including $2 million in donated right-of-way at the intersection, was reliant on $6 million contributions from both Loveland and Johnstown, as well as $1 million from both Larimer and Weld counties.

But the Johnstown Town Board on Tuesday voted to put in just $1.2 million, citing concerns from residents and equity issues considering the disparate sizes of Loveland and Johnstown.

But Johnstown officials announced Thursday they would call a special meeting Monday to potentially boost that contribution, and it's possible $6 million may be on the table after all.

“If Johnstown comes through, then we’re done. We’re only a couple of weeks behind. If they don’t, we’re about a month and a half behind.” Johnny OlsonColorado Department of Transportation

Three council members called for the special meeting, which is expected to be formally announced Friday morning.

"They continued to consider the conversations that were going on, and it kind of became a consensus that, 'Hey, maybe we made a mistake,' " Johnstown Mayor Scott James said.

Tuesday's 4-3 vote made waves across the region, and put Johnstown leaders in the crosshairs of leaders in surrounding areas.

They heard from Loveland City Council members, developers interested in the Colo. 402 interchange and residents.

"I have received around a dozen different emails (Thursday) from folks who live in Thompson River Ranch and Thompson Crossing," James said, referring to the Johnstown developments bordering I-25.

Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson even took to James' Facebook page to accuse him of shirking his responsibility. Johnstown may be one-fifth the size of Loveland, but Johnstown has annexed three of the four corners of that Colo. 402 interchange, meaning Johnstown would benefit the most, Johnson said.

James said he acknowledges Johnstown has a lot to gain, and he was initially on board with the $6 million until constituent complaints began to pile up. He cast the deciding "no" vote Tuesday. James said there now seems to be consensus to increase Johnstown's portion, and at least three council members still want Johnstown to contribute $6 million.

"A lot of councilors, myself included, got tied up in comparing our investment with Loveland's investment," James said. "That's wrong."

James said with three corners of Colo. 402 annexed, and an impending 2,000 rooftops along I-25 housing people who would use the interchange, a larger investment makes sense.

The reconsideration has breathed life into the project many thought was dead after Johnstown's Tuesday decision.

By Wednesday, Johnson was convinced the project wouldn't go forward at all, as Loveland's contribution was tied to Johnstown's. That means the $14 million expected contribution from all parties was whittled down to just $4.4 million.

Johnny Olson, at the Colorado Department of Transportation, said he will present a revised plan to Loveland City Council on Tuesday with the aim of persuading Loveland to keep it's contribution at $6 million.

Olson said CDOT staff is crunching the numbers now, determining what can be left off the interchange project to make up for the unexpected funding shortfall.

"We took a risk two months ago," Olson said of adding the Colo. 402 to northern I-25 corridor project. "Call it local politics; you can't bank on it."

Johnstown's special meeting Monday may render Olson's planned Tuesday presentation moot.

"If Johnstown comes through, then we're done," Olson said. "We're only a couple of weeks behind. If they don't, we're about a month and a half behind."

Up next

The Johnstown Town Board will have a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Town Hall, 450 South Parish Ave.