The Caliente City crews work year-round on projects for the city, from the streets, to the parks, to the Meadow Valley Wash, to the garbage hauling. While many businesses might slow down during the winter, the Caliente crew keeps busy.
This last year, Caliente residents saw the completion of the Spring Street project, where sewer, water and power lines were all updated and upgraded.
And although some of the work was completed by grant-funded contractors, all preparation and restoration work fell on the City crew’s shoulders. Lineman David Smith said, “We did everything from hand digging, using the mini excavator, to hauling more than 150 yards of asphalt and sand,” and then the cleanup after the project was completed by Reck Brothers Construction. Nearly 30,000 square feet of asphalt was laid for the new road surface, and 3,624 square feet of concrete used for the sidewalk. Three new fire hydrants were installed, along with 445 linear feet of lateral pipe to 25 residential meters.
Three months of labor has been spent in the Meadow Valley Wash according to crew worker Bert Mangum. Mangum and Osrick Osborn have been cleaning out the wash, taking out the ground making it deeper, “so the town doesn’t flood again,” Mangum said. This last season, they hauled out 11,000 yards of dirt.
Starting in the spring, crews have plans for spending a lot of time on the streets and parks getting them ready for the summer. “It’s a three-month process,” said Chris Glassburn, assistant foreman, to clean every street in town. Last year, the crew cleaned 24 streets in Caliente.
Smith is also transferring houses, “one at a time,” he said, from the above ground power lines to underground lines. “I try not to inconvenience the residents,” he said. By prepping all the wiring in the underground first, and running secondary poles if needed, Smith then contacts the homeowner to let them know they will go offline for no more than a half hour usually, “so it’s a minimal outage for everybody,” Smith said.
The next big project is the bridge by the Caliente Youth Center. Preliminary work has started, Glassburn said, by the state engineer. The work will involve rerouting utilities for the youth center as well as the Hot Springs hotel, removing the existing culverts, putting in a temporary road, and building the new bridge.
In between projects, the crew has even managed to remodel the shop, tiling and painting the bathroom. They’ve also been working on 15-year plans for the city, for upgrading all the utilities and looking at the budgets to see what projects are feasible. “They spent a lot of time and effort getting that cleaned up,” said Jerry Carter, utility foreman.
“It’s these guys doing the work, moving the signs, fixing roads, working in the bucket trucks. These guys are truly appreciated,” Carter said.
“You go project to project, and start forgetting about the dates,” said Osborn.
While all our town and city crews work hard all year, the City of Caliente has found a groove with the eight-man full-time crew, and are working hard for their Caliente residents.