BoCC allocates 1A funds to rec projects

Ballot Issue 1A parks and recreation dollars continue to trickle toward local projects, with the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners approving another $70,450 in funding on May 5.

In a series of three unanimous votes, the commissioners approved $500 to supplement electricity costs for operation of the fountain at Piñon Lake, $23,950 for the Pagosa Nordic Club’s cross country skiing trails grooming project and up to $46,000 for fencing ball fields at the Pagosa Springs High School Sports Complex.

Although the vote to approve funding for the Pinon Lake fountain went through largely without discussion, the Nordic club and the fencing project underwent greater scrutiny.

With the Pagosa Nordic Club, Archuleta County Commissioner John Ranson moved to give the club half of their $23,950 grant request, with the other half provided once the club demonstrates a marketing plan is in place.

James Dickhoff, spokesperson for the club, said the group has a marketing strategy, including plans for a Web site and publication of trail maps, press releases and trail reports. Dickhoff said he would work with the commissioners to provide the information they requested.

Formed during the summer of 2008, the Pagosa Nordic Club is a non-profit volunteer group committed to enhancing winter recreation opportunities in the Pagosa Springs area by maintaining accessible groomed winter trails for skate skiing, cross-country track skiing and snowshoeing.

Currently, Dickhoff said, the primary user area is a trail system adjacent to and along the West Fork Road. However, with 1A funding, he said the group intends to expand groomed Nordic trail opportunities to the Williams Creek Campground area, Reservoir Hill, areas adjacent to Pagosa Springs schools, the practice field at Town Park and the town’s new sports complex. In addition, the club is assessing possibilities in the Fawn Gulch, Coyote Hill, Snowball Road and Turkey Springs areas, although trail work and grooming in these locations is subject to Forest Service approval.

In a previous interview, Dickhoff said club members will work with Forest Service staff this summer to determine which national forest lands are most appropriate for Nordic trails.

Dickhoff said his group’s 1A funding request stemmed from a desire to provide a regularly maintained, groomed and mapped Nordic trail network in the Pagosa Springs area, and to move away from total reliance on the generosity of volunteers for funding.

The discussion on the ball field fencing project focused primarily on cost and contractor issues, and whether the cost presented was derived from a competitive bidding process.

With those in attendance agreeing that the project cost presented had not been derived from a town, county or school district-sanctioned bidding process, Commissioner Bob Moomaw moved to approve the funding as long as the project went out to bid per county protocols.

According to Archuleta County Finance Director Don Warn the 2009 starting balance for Ballot Issue 1A parks and recreation projects was $484,638. Actual expenditures, to-date, total $70. Yet, in addition to their May 5 approvals, the commissioners have also committed $50,000 for the skate park and $47,000 for the town to lakes trail.

james@pagosasun.com