In 1886, the residents of Hastings voted to establish a
municipally-owned water supply. Opponents noted that if the vote
succeeded, sanitary sewer service was sure to follow (they were
right). The site of the first municipal water well is still in use
today. That site was chosen due to two factors. First, citizens
wanted the noise and commotion of the water wagons a comfortable
distance away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, where nearly
everyone resided. Also, the site was the highest point in Hastings,
which locals thought would make it easier to run the operation. The
first deliveries of water were in barrels, until actual water
transporting mains were put in at a later date. Some water mains
still in use today in downtown Hastings are more than a century old.
The second service to be provided was sanitary sewer which began in
1890. Today, wastewater treatment is provided at the Pollution
Control Center which began its operation in 1982.
Electricity, initially only for street lighting, was first provided
in 1899. The first power plant was fueled by burning coal.
Ironically, the main source of local power generation today, is the
coal-fired Gerald T. Whelan Energy Center. The site of the first
plant, the North Denver Station, is still used today. Several
natural gas driven generators provide peaking and standby power. The
first plant was placed on the same grounds as the municipal water
Through the years, until 1942, natural gas was distributed locally
by privately held companies. In 1942, the local gas distribution
network was purchased from a private concern. In the 1950's, the
natural gas department was brought under the auspices of the other
three utility services and Hastings Utilities was formed.
Originally created as a three member board in
1936, today the five member Board Of Public Works
establishes the policies which govern the operations of Hastings
Utilities. During the hard times of the depression, local citizens
decided that the utilities' departments should provide cost based
services, without benefit of tax dollars. The Board was instructed
to run the utility departments like a business. Today, board members
are appointed by the mayor, with the approval of the city council.
Board terms, for the five members, are five years in length. One
board position per year, barring unforeseen circumstances, is up for
re-appointment or re-assignment. The board sets policies that effect
day-to-day operations and recommends to the city council such things
as rates to be charged and the budget for the various departments.
Final approval rests with the mayor and the council.
The current board members are; Charles Shoemaker (Board chair),
appointed on 7/2/05, reappointed in 2010, His term will expire in
Krieger, appointed on
10/27/08. His term expires in 2013. Willis Hunt, appointed on 7/01/06, reappointed in 2010. His
term expires in 2016. Jeanette Dewalt, appointed on 7/13/09. Her
term expires in 2014. Jeff Kully, appointed on 1/1/13. His
term will expire in 2017.
Jacob Fisher Rainbow Fountain, is a local and regional
landmark which draws numerous crowds to its location throughout the
summer months. Originally meant to be a temporary exhibit at the
1932 Adams County Fair, it was relocated to Highland Park, the
municipal park located in front of Hastings Utilities' main offices,
in 1933. It was a "sign of hope" for local and area citizens during
the Depression and dust bowl days of the 1930's. Fisher Rainbow
Fountain, the largest of its kind between Denver and Chicago,
remains a source of great community pride today. It's name was
derived from two winning essays written by young school children in
an effort to name the structure. Jacob Fisher was the mayor of
Hastings when the park was first developed. The "Rainbow Fountain"
describes the many changing colors of lights that accompany the
varying arrays of water sprays that reach heights of 67 feet.
fountain was computerized in 1983, allowing the number of possible
color-waterform configurations to be increased from the
to over 2 million. There are five controllable waterforms, yielding 31 possible stable
waterform configurations and additional interphases. These
waterforms are the high vertical jet, the somewhat lower eight
vertical jets, the three spray nozzles, and the outer eight jets.
This gives great versatility in setting and altering the shape of
The colors come from four red lights, four green lights, four blue
lights, three amber lights, and white base lights (14,000 watts all
together). The lights are relatively close to each other and to the
water nozzles, thus allowing a partial blending of colors. For
example, when all four colors are on, the overall effect is pink,
with localized areas of peach, modified green, lavender, and other
shades, gradually blending from one to another.
The fountain has become a permanent part of the lives of Hastings
citizens, offering serenity, beauty, and a location for many
memorable evenings of ice-cream socials, band concerts, and other
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