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Home arrow News arrow Council commits to developing Big Mine Park Master Plan
Council commits to developing Big Mine Park Master Plan Print
Written by Mark Reaman   
Wednesday, 06 March 2013

“You don’t want to wait for your vacation days to plan your trip...”

The Crested Butte Town Council gave the go-ahead to town Parks and Recreation director Jake Jones to apply for a major planning grant to be used to solidify the future of Big Mine Park. Jones will go after a GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado) grant that would pay for the bulk of a $50,000 to $75,000 plan. The council agreed to use $25,000 in matching funds if needed. That money is in the 2013 budget for the USA Pro Challenge bike race that is not coming through Crested Butte this summer.


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“The idea is that it would be a very comprehensive planning document for that area,” Jones told the council at the February 19 meeting. “We’d get hard, real-world costs and actual construction documents that would be used in the future. There are a lot of needs over there due to the success of the facility. There’s a lot going on with a lot of moving parts.”
Jones suggested utilizing a very public input process as part of the planning proceedings. “That will help us determine how to tackle these issues,” he said. “The Big Mine park development has been a long project but it is important for the public to continue to have a chance to weigh in on it.”
In a memo to the council, Jones said such a plan could determine future needs at that location, the order of implementation of those needs, the capital development and maintenance costs associated with that project and possible funding mechanisms and partnerships for implementation.
Jones said the success of the recently covered ice rink has made the park extremely busy and things like fire suppression inside the rink and the small size of the current warming house are issues at the location. So are parking, restrooms, a potential skate park renovation, and snow storage.
“I think we need to move the discussion forward,” said Mayor Aaron Huckstep. “Is it possible to move it up and do the plan in 2013?”
“If we wait the year we can perhaps leverage town money with GOCO like we did with the roof,” said Jones. “But, we can get a lot of information and even some of the hard projects that are part of a planning process done this year.”
“Believe it or not, $25,000 doesn’t get us very far down the road. There’s a long laundry list of stuff to look at with the site,” said acting town manager Bob Gillie. “It would be hard to create a good, complete plan in 2013.”
“Financing should be part of the planning,” insisted Councilmember Jim Schmidt. “A great plan with no money is just a plan on a piece of paper.”
“You don’t want to wait for your vacation days to plan your trip,” added Councilperson Shaun Matusewicz.
“Overall for the whole community, there is a gap between the town’s wish list and the finances,” said Jones.
Schmidt said like Huckstep, he would like an end result that was faster than slower.
Councilperson John Wirsing cautioned the council against continually dipping into reserves for such projects.
“We have a pressing issue that won’t go away,” said Huckstep. “This planning is a worthy endeavor.”
Town finance director Lois Rozman said since the money would essentially be coming from the general fund reserve, which had a healthy bank balance, she was comfortable with the expenditure if the council wanted to use it. “To actually do the project will take a partnership like we had with GOCO for the roof,” she said.
Nordic Council board member Skip Berkshire supported the idea of having a master plan for that particular area.
Schmidt suggested the council look at perhaps getting some temporary hockey locker rooms in the area to alleviate some of the pressure on the warming house.
Local parent Teddy Evans admitted that it was too late to move the ice rink closer to the school, “But now we have to finish the rink and do it right,” he said. “It’s a community deal. We need to make it real. Make a good plan and people will help fund it. Give the Nordic people their lives back.”
“We hear you,” said Huckstep. “We want to move forward and we will spend money to do it right.”
The council agreed to set aside the $25,000 to help secure the GOCO planning grant. Jones will apply for the grant by August of this year and if awarded, the planning money would be used for 2014.
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