By Randi Pierce
One of Archuleta County’s newest parks now has an official name — Cloman Community Park.
The park is located at the end of Cloman Boulevard, near the airport, and is slated to become accessible in the coming weeks with the building of a road and parking lot.
The park’s name was chosen at Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners’ meeting based on recommendations from the county’s Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) task force.
In August, the county launched a contest to name the park, soliciting ideas from the public, with a promised prize of $100 cash from the commissioners and administrator, a night’s stay at Mountain Landing, and a $50 gift card from Ski & Bow Rack.
Fifteen entries were submitted and forwarded to PROST to be ranked for the BoCC.
While all submissions were ranked by the public, the majority of PROST members decided one name fit the park better than any other — Cloman Community Park — based on the park long being referenced as the Cloman Open Space Park and on its location near Cloman Boulevard, said County Administrator Greg Schulte. Cloman is the name of the late Jim Cloman, once a prominent area rancher.
The top three options for the park name forwarded to the BoCC were Cloman Community Park, Ponderosa Park and Mountain Air Park.
It was suggested by Schulte that, should the BoCC choose the PROST-recommended name, an entry could be picked at random to receive the prize — something County Attorney Todd Starr warned against, noting it was too nice and therefore likely had something wrong with it.
Michael Whiting suggested that the prize go to the second highest-ranked name.
Steve Wadley then suggested the county go with Ponderosa Park, the highest-ranking name submitted by the public, defending that opinion by noting that the county is often accused of soliciting input and not listening.
“Well I appreciate that, Steve,” Lucero said before suggesting that the prize be split between the top-two names from the public. Starr later suggested that the BoCC shouldn’t split the prize.
Lucero noted that Cloman did hark back to the deceased rancher, but said he wished someone had come up with a, “great name,” like the name of the high school football stadium (Golden Peaks Stadium, which he noted is particularly fitting this time of year).
Starr suggested that the BoCC could reopen the contest, if desired. The board denied the suggestion.
Whiting noted that, in the future, people would not remember how the park was named, and that PROST consists of community members.
With comment winding down, Wadley motioned that the park be named Ponderosa Park, but the motion died for lack of a second.
Commenting, “This is so ridiculous,” Whiting then motioned that the park be named Cloman Community Park, with the motion seconded by Wadley and passed unanimously.
“Nobody’s going to care ten years from now,” Whiting said.
In other PROST news at the meeting, taskforce chair Gwen Taylor gave what was supposed to be the group’s biannual report, but was, in truth, the first report in about a year.
Since July 2011, Taylor said, PROST has recommended several community projects for funding from 1A Parks and Recreation coffers, some of which had previously received PROST funding. Following are some of the projects funded by the BoCC at the recommendation of PROST:
• $49,000 was given to a joint project to better the baseball fields adjacent to the high school.
• $10,600 was given to Pagosa Nordic Club for trail-grooming equipment.
• $1,200 was given to the Pagosa Fire Auxiliary for the recently dedicated 9/11 memorial.
• $4,000 was given to the Aspen Springs Metro District for a disc golf course.
• $3,000 was given to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs for trees and landscaping of its dog park.
• $7,000 was used as a grant match for tree thinning at Cloman Community Park.
• $7,500 was given to the TARA Historical Society.
• $2,000 was used to purchase sun shades for the playground at Yamaguchi Park.
• $3,688 was given to the Wolf Creek Wheel Club to install signage in the Turkey Springs trail system.
With no additional 1A funds coming into the county (the ballot measure sunsetted at the send of 2011), PROST will continue to recommend how to use the money, but will largely focus on the county’s three large parks and recreation projects — the Town-to-Lakes Trail, Cloman Community Park and the county’s 95-acre park located along U.S. 84.