LOUISVILLE, Colo. (KDVR) — One city suffering from the impacts of the Marshall Fire is trying to get back to normal on Tuesday. The City of Louisville started handing out passes to neighbors, clearing the way for them to head back home.
This effort is something unique to their city. Neighbors say they are proud leaders are stepping up to help.
“It just is one of those things where you just get the impression that people are really paying attention in terms of government helping you out,” resident Mark Cloninger said.
Cloninger and other neighbors in the city are expressing their gratitude for a small gesture they say goes a long way.
“I just heard about getting these placards so that we don’t have to show our IDs to get into our own neighborhood,” Cloninger said.
“Going to the house and showing ID, this is just simpler. There was a little bit of a traffic jam in our neighborhood right now … people coming in and going out. The police have been wonderful, protecting our neighborhoods,” Tom Delorey said, who has lived in the city for the past few years.
The passes will help people in areas deemed soft closures get back to their homes with a simple display of a pass rather than ID verification. Hard closures are set up in more hard-hit areas, only accessible to first responders right now.
“In our effort to rebuild the community, the community needs the next step, right? Our fire victims and victims throughout this need to know the government is working for them and that there is a next step. So we brought all of our civilian staff down here and over the weekend, worked on cards and we wanted to make sure that we were ready,” Louisville Police Chief David Hayes said, a victim of the fire himself.
“What they are planning and what they are doing here is fantastic because they are trying to make it as easy as possible. And that’s what is beautiful about all the community, they are trying to make it as easy as possible for us to be able to grieve, and look at it and figure out what’s next,” Ascent Community Church Lead Pastor Bill Stephens said.
What’s next may be a difficult road for Stephens. His church in Louisville is the point of distribution for the passes but the church itself was damaged in the fire and the pastor’s home is a total loss.
“We didn’t get a chance to go in and save anything so all of our DVDs and pictures and those memories are gone. We tend to be a pretty sentimental family but, in the end, you’re so thankful for the people around you. The love of the people around us has been overwhelming,” said Stephens.
Ascent Community Church plans to have services at another facility until they can resume worship at their own church.
“We’re going to be out of it from the ash and the smoke for a while so we’re going back to where we started at the Omni Hotel for a little while,” Stephens said. “So we’re not going to be able to gather together, but next week we’re just going to tell everybody: let’s be the church. Let’s go out there and help whatever way we can. I mean we are right in the epicenter of all that’s happened.”
Hayes said the city continues pass distribution throughout this week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., hoping to reach as many people as they can. Neighbors need to present an ID or utility bill as proof of residency.