Dog park ranks high as new Grand Lake committee outlines wish list for town properties
Tasked with helping plan the future for town-owned properties, a relatively new committee in Grand Lake has produced its first set of recommendations.
The committee was formed following pushback against an effort to build a workforce housing project next to the Grand Lake Center. At the time, opponents were challenged to come up with other ideas that might bring new life into the costly Grand Lake Center and brainstorm potential uses for town properties.
The committee that came out of those discussions includes roughly 15 people, and about a half dozen of them make it to most meetings, said Trustee Cindy Southway, the town’s representative on the committee. On Monday, she outlined the group’s work thus far for trustees.
While most recommendations cover land uses, trail improvements or a host of other items that could go on Grand Lake’s wish list, perhaps the biggest commitment the group is calling for would be dedicated funding for public lands.
To accomplish this, the committee suggests Grand Lake create a lands, parks, opens space and trails capital improvement fund inside the town’s budget, in addition to seeking grants and leveraging partnerships, such as working closely with the Grand County Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Advisory Committee.
Beyond funding, the committee turned in a list of potential land uses deemed appropriate for each town property they’ve been able to cover so far. To guide its work, the committee started with town parcels on the west side of Grand Lake.
Addressing the Grand Lake Center, the committee noted the center requires exterior pest control, sprinkler system repairs and the planting of more trees. There are also ideas for some kind of a walking path, which might double for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing in the winters.
Committee members decided that pickleball courts, public restrooms, community gardens or a covered picnic area would also be appropriate uses for the Grand Lake Center site. Other ideas are for a pavilion, playground, climbing wall, dog park or water feature, such as a splash pad.
“A dog park comes up at like every meeting; it is really high on the list,” Southway said of the town’s wants. “Visitors really want that, too. Think about it, people traveling to get here … the first thing they want to do is let their dog out. Having a designated dog park, we think, is really important.”
The committee would like to see the Flight For Life helipad landing zone on the property maintained. Also, the landscaping, facilities and continuity between the Grand Lake Center and other properties could be improved.
One of the committee’s ideas is for a safe trail between the Grand Lake Visitor Center and Town Park with a connection to the Grand Lake Center.
The committee also issued recommendations for the Center Drive Lots (also known as the carwash lots), Winter’s Pioneer Park, Thomasson Park and the lakefront beach and marina, each time detailing what committee members believe would be the best uses for the properties.
Many of the committee’s recommendations seek to maintain open space, promote path and trail connections or elicit quality of life improvements, though some mention specific exclusions.
At Winter’s Pioneer Park, for example, the committee suggested removing town vehicles in favor of visual mitigation and screening, path connections, wedding rentals, a water feature or public restrooms.
“It is a wonderful document and I think the recommendations are stellar,” said Mayor Steve Kudron, adding that he hopes the committee’s work will help bring some of these ideas to fruition.
In other business:
• Trustees denied a special event permit sought by the the Colorado Events Craft Fair. Prior to the decision, conversations focused on previous parking violations related to the event, along with a local business owner’s complaints and concerns that Colorado Events’ fair was being confused with chamber-sponsored events.
The event organizer tried to satisfy trustees’ concerns by saying there would be increased parking enforcement and the complaints against his organization were personal, but he was unsuccessful.
• Trustees gave town staff the go-ahead to work out an arrangement with US Constitution Week that will shift the nonprofit grant that was previously awarded to the week of events in September, but then rejected by Constitution Week, to support the week’s fireworks show.
• Grand Lake Chamber Director Emily Hagen thanked trustees for their support with the East Troublesome Fire exhibit that’s open daily through October. Hagen said the exhibit has welcomed more than 5,000 visitors.
• Trustees approved town staff seeking requests for proposals related to road paving.
• Trustees agreed to ditch the reservation system at Point Park, which is a public park owned by the US Forest Service but managed by the town. The reservation system had caused problems with people reserving the space but no way for the town to enforce private reservations.
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