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Grand Lake enters next phase of tree removal projects

by Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

Town Manager Shane Hale updated trustees about the next phase of tree cutting within town limits, a 6,200-tree removal project along town rights of ways and on public land.

The town has put the project out to bid to 16 loggers who currently possess town business licenses. A mandatory pre-bid meeting is scheduled for Dec. 3 at Town Hall.

To address the excess slash dilemma, Hale said the town is conversing with officials at the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District about piling the slash that will be the byproduct of tree disposal. The town is also working with Rocky Mountain National Park to gain access to the Park’s air-curtain burner, a lower-emissions burner that can dispose of the material more quickly and cleaner than open burning.

The burner may be available to the town in mid-June, so the town is working with the recreation district find a location where the burner could be operated. The district board, however, has not yet had a chance to review or vote on a proposal.

In the past, the recreation district has been successful in burning slash from its own massive tree-removal project by working with the state.

The Grand Lake Fire Protection District already has agreed to help with the safety end of the air-curtain burn project by providing expertise, training and oversight.

Environmental concerns aired

The use of Carbaryl and other pesticides is an environmental concern in Grand Lake, a citizen informed town trustees Monday. Trustees did not disagree.

Grand Lake resident Lenny Brooks continued his campaign in Grand Lake for an environmental code enforcement officer in the county. After he gave a presentation based on Environmental Protection Agency information about the possible health and proven environmental effects of tree pesticides, specifically Carbaryl used generously in the Grand Lake area, the town board discussed its own limited use of tree spraying.

The presence of green lodgpoles in Grand Lake will have to be reduced to a handful of protected trees in the cemetery and in the town center, they said.

The town is leaning toward giving up the struggle and conceding all others as it embarks on a major tree-logging plan.

As far as an environmental code enforcement officer, Mayor Judy Burke said it couldn’t hurt to send a letter in support of the idea, if in the least to get people talking about the issues, she said.

Trustees agreed to sign the letter of support on town letterhead and address it to the county. So far, the town of Granby has also sent a letter from Brooks’s suggestion.

In response to that letter, county commissioners said there already exists such a position within various roles already held on the county level, among them are water rights lawyers and highly educated employees familiar with to the environmental issues local governments face.

Grand Arts Center inching toward late winter opening

The Grand Arts Council board members visited the town of Grand Lake to share progress on the Grand Arts Center, the large community cultural center that sat neglected until the council invested in its renovations seven years ago.

Although it has been a painstakingly slow process with primarily volunteer help and funds either donated, granted or earned, the council said it is inching toward its opening.

It’s goal, said Grand Arts Council president Jim Cervenka, is to have the lower level open and available to the people associated with Snowshoot, a snowmobile expo event that will be hosted again in Grand Lake this upcoming late winter.

The Grand Arts Council had originally hoped for an August opening, but taking a building that was built under a 1970s building code and bringing up to the standards of 2007 has been a profound project, Cervenka said.

Work has continued to rely on the volunteer contributions of construction laborers and the coordination of jobs still needed to be completed.

Electrical is the next project on the center’s list of to-dos, Cervenka said.

Members of the arts council clarified that the building is sound, despite rumors that it isn’t. It’s frame is steel, foundation solid, and the building has a new roof, water system and fire suppression system from the help of a federal grant.

The Grand Arts Council has a line of credit from Grand Mountain Bank to complete the downstairs, and all materials are bought and ready to be installed.

With SilverCreek in Granby no longer accommodating large conference space and the Grand Lake Lodge closed, Cervenka said, the Grand Arts Center could become one of the few facilities in the county that can host large groups … once it’s finished.

Council members said they are eager to get the project completed so they can focus less on drywall, flooring and painting and get back to what attracted them to the organization in the first place, The Arts.

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.


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