Governor visits Jamestown for first time since floods

Roads, homes gone in Jamestown due to floods

JAMESTOWN, Colo. - For the first time since the floods, Governor Hickenlooper got a firsthand look at the massive destruction in Jamestown.

Friday, the Governor toured the town with Mayor Tara Schoedinger. The two met in the town hall then stopped at three locations in the town to view the devastation. The Governor took time to talk with residents who's homes were destroyed.

Burt Payne's home is on Overland Drive and neighbors the town square. The square is now covered in debris, the majority of it rocks. Payne's home sits along the creek. Inside his home, you can see a line of mud 28 inches high where the water peaked. His refrigerator was pushed from the wall, and the back room where the staircase leads upstairs is covered in nearly five feet of sand.

"The front part of house had about 12 to 15 inches of mud," Payne said. "I never thought I’d see the creek  get 120 feet wide cause it’s normally 10 feet, 8 feet wide."

Payne joked he and his wife always wanted a bigger mudroom but didn't have this in mind. Residents are trying to keep a sense of humor but the devastation is overwhelming.

"I think it will be a long time before I actually realize what happened," Payne said. "This was just sort of the harsh reality of the beauty of nature."

Mayor Schoedinger told 7NEWS the town will rebuild but it's going to need help. The town's annual budget is only $56,000, so they're asking for support through the town's website: www.rebuildjamestownco.org

"We’ve lost a patriarch of our community. Having people displaced outside our community is a huge loss, but we’re really strong and when people come home it’s great to see everybody," Mayor Schoedinger said.

The Mayor and Governor stood together on top a mound of debris talking about how to go about rebuilding.

"I think when we’re all said, housing, roads, everything we’re obviously over a billion dollars. It’s hard to measure right now. I don’t know a billion and a half. I hesitate to throw out numbers because we don’t have the facts," Governor Hickenlooper said. "This is so graphic and so visceral ,your stomach ties in a knot."

The Mayor estimated 20% of homes in Jamestown were lost to the floods.