Owner: Salvage yard isn't junk

The Craig Chamber of Commerce would like to see some parts of Craig look a little more attractive, especially the entrances to town.

"You never get a second chance at a first impression," said Chamber board of directors President Christina Currie.

The automobile salvage yard at Ike's Transmission and Auto Repair on U.S. Highway 40 just east of Craig is an area Currie said could be improved.

But, Currie said, she doesn't want to force Ike's owner Elwood Eisenhauer to do anything.

"He provides a much needed service," Currie said of the long-time Chamber member.

Eisenhauer said he would be more than willing to maintain a fence or trees to shield the salvage yard from the road, but he doesn't want to pay to put anything in.

Because of Ike's close proximity to the road, the salvage yard doesn't fall under county building regulations, meaning the county can't force the business to put up a fence.

The Colorado Department of Transportation requires salvage yards to have a fence shielding them from roads, but Ike's has been around since before the CDOT rules went into effect, meaning the business isn't required to have a fence.

"There's no way to even cover it with a six- or eight-foot fence," Eisenhauer said.

Eisenhauer said that at least a 20-foot fence would be needed to shield the salvage yard because it sits lower than the road.

Eisenhauer's father started the salvage yard in the 1960s, and he took over in the early 1990s.

He said the salvage yard isn't an eyesore to him.

"To some people, I guess it is junk," Eisenhauer said. "But to me, it's not."

Eisenhauer said people from all over the world come to look at the salvage yard's old cars, some dating to the 1920s.

Ike's salvage yard deals only with automobiles -- no scrap metal or old appliances.

"It's not a junkyard, it's an automotive recycling center," he said.

Eisenhauer has started a petition asking his customers what they think of the yard's appearance from the road.

"Not once has someone come off of (U.S. 40) and told me this was an eyesore," he said.

He said salvage yards are necessary because if people have to pay to dispose of old cars, they're going to abandon them all over town.

Ike's pays for old cars.

"Either they're going to be at a salvage yard, or they're going to be run out and abandoned," Eisenhauer said.

He said people should remember that when they complain about the yard's appearance. "Some people are just not happy unless they're casting stones."

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