Granby votes down new bouldering wall for town park
Trustees support concept but reject expenditure due to costs
The Town of Granby budgeted $32,500 from its conservation trust fund for the construction of a bouldering wall in 2023, but the board of trustees voted against the project after projected costs nearly doubled.
Originally, the estimated cost for the bouldering wall was around $65,000. The Never Summer Senders, a nonprofit climbing group in Grand County that spearheaded the project, committed to raising half of the cost and has raised $44,000 for the wall.
Granby Town Manager Ted Cherry explained the cost increases to the board. The estimate for the wall itself increased to $77,150, while other costs came from a need for more materials. More concrete than previously estimated was needed, plus more-expensive material for the fall zone around the wall and a possible need for specialized engineering at the site.
The total cost rose to $112,150, meaning Granby would have to provide another $35,650.
“The conservation trust does not have enough funds in reserve to pay for that amount,” Cherry said. “That would be needed to be taken out of the capital improvement fund.”
Cherry also explained to the board that the climbing group wanted the wall to go in Polhamus Park, but the town’s parks committee had advised against that location. Recreation director Julie Martin later stated the committee felt that each of Granby’s parks has an identity, and the climbing wall would fit better with Rafferty Park’s identity than that of Polhamus.
Trustee Chris Michalowski sits on the Never Summer Senders’ board and coaches its youth climbing teams. He told the board about the growing popularity of climbing and the work his group has done since 2019 to bring a climbing wall to Granby — originally intended to be an indoor wall but later changed to an outdoor bouldering wall. Michalowski said the wall would be not only recreational infrastructure, but also social infrastructure.
“Granby is a town — we don’t have a town square,” Michalowski said. “This gets different users, different rec users, it gets them out of their houses, it gets them off their phones, off their screens, and it gets them interacting in public.”
The board discussed the issue for over 30 minutes and heard from several public commenters. Trustees and commenters all supported the idea of the bouldering wall, but many voiced concerns about the increased costs. Public commenters also raised concerns about the renderings of the wall being visually unappealing.
Eventually, the board voted against approving the expenditure of $112,150 for the wall to be built this summer in a vote of 4-3. Mayor Josh Hardy voted last, casting a “no” vote to break a 3-3 tie.
“I support the wall, absolutely,” Hardy said. “I support the location in Rafferty Park. I don’t support the additional cost. If we did more donations and fundraising, I would be more apt to talk about it.”
- The board discussed the possibility of changing the town charger to become a home rule municipality and switch from at-large to ward-based elections for trustees during the workshop session.
- Trustees approved the final plat and plan for 32 duplex units called Wrangler’s Crossing in Granby Ranch. The board also approved the subdivision improvements agreement for the development.
- The board discussed putting a flashing light pedestrian signal across Agate Avenue at Mesa Street, but decided to direct staff to look into other options, as the signal had an estimated cost of $90,300.
- Trustees approved the appointments of Deric Duerst, Amy Call, Nancy Eckert and Shanna Ganne to the public arts committee.
- The board approved a change to town ordinance that requires contractors to get permits for certain grading, excavation, clearing and filling activities.
- Trustees approved the fee schedule changes they discussed in their last meeting.
- The board approved a $28,200 bid for painting town hall, as well as up to $2,000 for window repair as needed, to Rick’s Grand Painting.
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