Arkansas Valley Conduit: Kickoff celebration recap

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“This is our future,” Southeastern Colorado Conservancy District President Bill Long said Friday at a celebration marking the beginning of the conduit’s construction. “Sometimes I worry that we don’t think about the future the way they did in 1962 or 1942.”[…]

Members of Colorado’s congressional delegation evoked the words of President John F. Kennedy and the continued support of valley leaders such as Pueblo Chieftain Publisher Bob Rawlings, Long and others in moving the project toward reality. “I think Jack Kennedy would be enormously proud of the Southeastern district and Southern Colorado for hanging in there all these years,” Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said. “This is a touchstone for what we should be doing when our politics becomes crazier and crazier.” Bennet quoted Kennedy’s speech in Pueblo in 1962 that praised the public benefits of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project as he signed it into law. The conduit was a crucial part of that project, and would benefit those with the poorest quality drinking water, the Lower Arkansas Valley. It was ballyhooed as a primary benefit when golden frying pans were sold to raise money to support the project. Enthusiasm grew in the 1960s – Lamar joined the Southeastern district in 1968 to partake of the conduit – and continued well into the 1970s…

It wasn’t until this year, when a concept that would use excess-capacity revenues from the Fry-Ark Project to repay federal costs of the conduit and other unfunded portions of the project, that the project took off…

“You’ve seen what happens when water moves away from communities,” Rep. Salazar said. “What we are here today to assure is that every community in the Arkansas Valley gets good, clean drinking water.”[…]

Both Bennet and Salazar mentioned [Bob] Rawlings’ role in promoting the conduit for decades, but Rawlings went even further in history to praise the efforts of others in the history of the Fry-Ark Project. “I think this is a wonderful day,” The Chieftain publisher said. “It’s been a long time coming. The efforts of Frank Hoag, Damian Ducy, Charles Beise, Charles Boustead and many others are looking down on us and grateful that this finally is getting done.”

More Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here and here.

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