Dispute over party responsible for repairing Thompson Road stalls improvement work

Chunks of asphalt sit next to a gash in Thompson Road on Monday, July 4, 2022, just outside of one of the entrances to City Market. Grand Elk and the Town of Granby have called on City Market’s parent company, Kroger, to help fix the damaged road.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

Driving to City Market can feel like playing a game of dodgeball. The cracks and potholes on Thompson Road, which connects the shopping center, Grand Elk Ranch & Club, and County Road 56 to U.S. Highway 40, make the short stretch from the highway to the neighborhood an unpleasant driving experience.

As of now, no party will take responsibility for repairing it.

The Granby Board of Trustees used money from the town and the Grand Elk Ranch General Improvement District to pay SGM, the town’s engineer, $45,000 to engineer the project in 2021. Before engineering, SGM estimated the cost to repair the road at $1.15 million, but Town Manager Ted Cherry said the estimate is now a little under $1.5 million.

The board closed their request for bids to fix the road June 24 without receiving any. At the June 28 board of trustees meeting, Cherry said SGM recommended the town try to rebid the project, possibly in conjunction with the “halfway pathway” sidewalk to City Market, in November. 

Thompson Road has deteriorated partially due to a dispute over who is responsible for its repair. Lisa Wood, a member of the Grand Elk Homeowners Association board, said Dillon Cos. Inc., not the HOA, is responsible for the worn-down stretch of Thompson Road.

Dillon Cos., which owns the Grand Elk Crossing shopping center, runs the City Market as a subsidiary of The Kroger Co. Wood said the company’s responsibility comes from a 2007 maintenance and repair agreement for Grand Elk Ranch & Club, which representatives of the town, Grand Elk HOA and Grand Elk LLC signed.

The agreement states that Granby is not responsible for any maintenance and repair within Grand Elk Ranch & Club, unless it accepts responsibility in writing. The text Wood focuses on mentioned Dillon Cos. by name.

“This covenant shall apply to any public improvement, including … roads … excluding, however, those within the boundaries of the golf course for which Grand Elk, LLC, will be responsible, and those within the boundaries of Grand Elk Crossing, for which the owner thereof, currently Dillon Companies, Inc., is responsible,” the agreement reads.

Wood said the stretch of Thompson Road running along the shopping center is within the boundaries of the Grand Elk Crossing shopping center, meaning Dillon Cos. is responsible for maintenance and repair. 

Grand County’s parcel viewer shows Thompson Road from the highway to the Grand Elk neighborhood as its own parcel and lists the owner as the Grand Elk Ranch General Improvement District. 

Cherry and Wood have both tried contacting Kroger to talk about funding road repairs. Cherry said rarely gets responses from Kroger representatives, although he has contacted people in their regional and corporate offices. 

In his communications with Kroger, Cherry argues the company should help repair the road because their customers and large delivery trucks rely on it. An Aug. 2021 traffic study found that 82.3% of vehicles turning onto Thompson Road went to the commercial area.

Cherry focuses on this commercial use of Thompson Road over the maintenance and repair agreement that mentions Dillon Cos.

“Dillon Cos. never signed that,” Cherry said. “So that’s a very difficult thing to hold over their heads, that they’re responsible for (repairs) from this agreement.”

At the June 28 board meeting, Cherry said he did not predict that Dillon Cos. would help finance the project, but he pointed out that the company does pay into the general improvement district and said he will continue reaching out to Kroger.

“There’s one (Kroger contact) that I’m really hopeful about,” Cherry said at the meeting. “Every time I email her, she responds and says, ‘Let’s meet tomorrow,’ and when I say, ‘Okay, what time works for you? What’s the phone number I can call you at?’ it’s crickets. So it’s very frustrating.”

Wood wrote in an email that she and the neighborhood oppose using general improvement district funds for Thompson Road repairs, claiming that would pass the cost to Grand Elk homeowners who pay over $700 per year into the district and have no control over it.

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