Asbestos in burned ruins of Yampa’s Royal Hotel finally due to be cleaned up |

Asbestos in burned ruins of Yampa’s Royal Hotel finally due to be cleaned up

— Twenty-eight months after the town of Yampa's landmark Royal Hotel burned to the ground on Jan. 3, 2015, the Routt County Board of Commissioners is one step closer this week to cleaning up the asbestos contamination in the ruins of the hotel that still occupy the site in the little town 28 miles south of Steamboat Springs that serves as the "Gateway to the Flat Tops."

The cleanup can't come soon enough for Tim Corrigan, chairman of the Routt County Board of Commissioners, who lives in rural Yampa, which is located 28 miles south of Steamboat, and worked diligently on the problem with other county officials.

"I was really hoping to have it done before the Fourth of July," festivities in Yampa, Corrigan said Wednesday. "I cringe every time I drive by it.”

But there's still one minor glitch remaining.

Fellow commissioners Cari Hermacinski and Doug Monger authorized Corrigan this week to sign a $137,390 grant agreement with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment to cover the cost of cleanup, which will be conducted by Colorado Hazard Control, the firm that submitted the lowest of nine bids.

So, what's the hold up? CDPHE typically requires two months to approve work permits.

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"Now that we've executed the contract and the contractor is ready to go, (Colorado Hazard) has to go through the formality of applying for an open-air cleanup permit from CDPHE," Corrigan said. "It's frustrating because it's the same people at the CDPHE.”

CDPHE wrote to hotel owner Reno "Bill" Ager on May 7, 2015, confirming that the hotel debris contained about 200 cubic yards of asbestos-containing materials, exceeding cleanup triggers. But Ager, pleading lack of funds, did not act on the agency’s requirement that he hire a contractor to mitigate the situation.

That left the county to find a way to “do the right thing."

After the asbestos removal is complete, the contractors will leave behind a gaping foundation hole on Yampa's main drag and it is estimated that 900 cubic yards of fill material will be needed to fill in the hole.

"As luck would have it, we've been able to negotiate with Native Excavating, which has already started trucking materials from Oak Creek's Main Street (underground utilities) project and stockpiling it," across the street from the Royal Hotel ruins,” Corrigan said.

Corrigan figures a nearby hauling site for Native Excavating could actually save the town of Oak Creek a little money and wrap up the eyesore in Yampa once and for all.

Routt County will incur some expense from the asbestos cleanup. In order to control the ownership of the site and land the grant, the commissioners agreed to Ager's request to be reimbursed $3,000 by the county for his investment in the water tap at the hotel. And that means that when the asbestos is cleared up, Routt County will own a downtown commercial lot in Yampa.

Ultimately, the town council would probably like to see a new retail establishment built there, Corrigan speculated. But in the interim, he said, it could make a nice community garden.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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