By Kelly Werthmann
GLEN HAVEN, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s been more than four years since flood waters all but wiped the small mountain town of Glen Haven off the map. Now, the new town hall is finally taking shape.
The unincorporated town sits just seven miles north of Estes Park, with fewer than 200 residents. Steve Childs has called Glen Haven home for 40 years and witnessed floods devastate his town not once – but twice.
“In ‘76 (Big Thompson Flood), everything was damaged,” Childs said. “In 2013, everything was destroyed.”
Homes, roads, bridges — all gone. Among the destruction was the old town hall, a beloved gathering place for the mountain community for 80 years.
“It was a very difficult time,” Childs told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “It was very difficult to cope with.”
With no funds to rebuild the town hall, the community had to pitch in — they weren’t about to let the heart of their town disappear for good. So, they rolled up their sleeves and dug deep in their pockets.
“A lot of people up here are retired or on a fixed income, so it was really heartwarming to see them give,” Childs said with a smile. “Some sent $25, $30, $40, others sent $1,000.”
Slowly, but surely it became enough to start rebuilding, and volunteers like Jake Shimon pitched in to get the new town hall off the ground.
“For folks up here in the Glen,” he said, “to see [the building] come up is fantastic.”
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For Childs, the noisy construction site is the sound of hope.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” he said.
Yet before the new town hall can open — the goal is this June — the project needs more donations. It’s about $200,000 short of the $500,000 goal.
“We have no tax base, no taxes that support us,” Shimon explained. “So we have to raise money to finish this awesome project.”
The hope is if a small town can do something so big to help each other, all of Colorado can come together for Glen Haven.
“It would be the final chapter in Glen Haven’s recovery,” Childs said of the new town hall opening. “We van finally say, ‘Phew! That was rough, but we’re done.”
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.