Sheriff’s Office to ramp up Dillon Valley bike patrols
DILLON VALLEY – Dillon Valley feels like a true neighborhood. One of the community’s primary thoroughfares – Straight Creek Drive – is lined on either side with modest homes with small lawns and condominium complexes. Teens riding bikes, residents walking toward Summit Stage bus stops and kids heading toward the elementary school criss-cross the streets. Although the community appears tight-knit, it’s one that needs a little bit more police presence in some people’s minds.Some of the recurring problems in the neighborhood, which lies east of the town of Dillon and south of Interstate 70, are cars running stop signs or speeding down the 30 mile-per-hour limit Straight Creek Drive, said Dan Ulmer, president of Basic Management Properties, who’s been the manager of Dillon Valley East Condominiums for 30 years.Other issues are cars with loud mufflers creating noise, and people congregating in the condominiums’ parking lots and playing music during summer evenings, which can intimidate other residents, Ulmer said.Ulmer and Dillon Valley HOA president Richard Garcia met with Sheriff John Minor, whose department has jurisdiction of Dillon Valley, to discuss the safety of the area.Added police patrols helped solve the speeding problem in the short-term, but the group wanted to devise more of a long-range plan to curb the other problems, Ulmer said.Minor suggested having his deputies patrol Dillon Valley on bicycles for the summer. Only problem is, the sheriff’s office’s bicycles are old and don’t have decent lighting systems.”We were trying to scrounge up money in the budget to maybe buy a couple more,” Minor said.Instead, the Dillon Valley HOA stepped forward with a $2,600 contribution to help the cause.”We thought, just being good community-minded, we would buy those two bikes for them and outfit them,” Ulmer said.Minor, who called the move an incredible gesture, said the bicycles will give deputies more mobility, and hopefully enable them to form relationships with the community as officers on bikes generally seem more approachable than those in vehicles.Enforcement won’t necessarily be strict, rather deputies will warn people to be more aware of their neighbors, Minor said.The need for more police presence stems from the changing character of Dillon Valley, Ulmer believes.When he moved to Dillon Valley 30 years ago, the majority of the condos in Dillon Valley East were either owner-occupied, or used for short-term rentals during the ski season.During the summer months, most of the rental units sat empty, and the atmosphere was very quiet.Now, he estimates 65 to 70 percent of owners rent out their units to long-term lessees, which puts more cars on the roads and more people in the area on a year-round basis.Then, there are different cultures learning to co-exist. The many Hispanics who live in Dillon Valley aren’t necessarily used to following strict rules, and the residents who have lived there for many years, aren’t necessarily used to the Hispanic way of life, which is very family-oriented with many people sharing space, he said.Ulmer hopes the bicycle patrols make a positive difference in the area so many people call home.”I’m anxious to see it,” he said. “I think it’s going to be great for the Valley.”Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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