Search and Rescue wants storage building in Grand Lake | SkyHiNews.com
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Search and Rescue wants storage building in Grand Lake

by Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

Grand County Search and Rescue is seeking a permanent building for its equipment in the Grand Lake area and wants to place it in the parking lot of Grand Lake Elementary School.

This proposal was presented to the East Grand Board of Education at its Tuesday meeting by David Kafer, president of Grand County Search and Rescue.

The organization is seeking a lease agreement with the East Grand School District to place a building on the Grand Lake school’s property. Under the proposed lease, the volunteer organization would be allowed to construct a “storage building” on the northeast corner of the elementary school’s parking lot. The building would cover a 30-by-50 foot portion of the parking lot.

Kafer said the building would house a Search and Rescue truck with an attached trailer. It is essential to keep this equipment out of the weather to ensure a quicker response by rescuers to emergency situations, he said. This is especially important in the winter because snow must first be removed from the equipment and the vehicle’s engine warmed up.

Under questioning by board member Barbara Ahrens, Kafer admitted the proposed building would be a permanent-type facility requiring “light, heat, water and sewer.”

He explained water and sewer would be needed for toilet facilities inside the building.

Board members raised further questions and concerns, including possible congestion in the school’s parking lot, safety issues involving children and objections that homeowners on Marina Drive might have to placing a large building at that location.

With those unanswered questions and concerns raised, the board members indicated they were not yet ready to agree to a lease with Grand County Search and Rescue.

However, after a suggestion by Superintendent Robb Rankin, they did approve a resolution saying they agreed to “the concept” of a lease, contingent upon receiving answers to their questions and concerns. Kafer said that resolution would give his organization “leverage” with the Grand County Commissioners for funding for the construction of the building.

During his presentation on the proposal, Kafer told the board that Search and Rescue had been looking for a permanent location for the past three years in the Grand Lake area. The organization already has permanent facilities in Fraser and Kremmling.

Kafer said he sought help from the Town of Grand Lake and the Grand Lake Fire Protection District, but was told no location for a building was available. Extra space in the fire department’s new fire station has already been taken up with its own equipment.

At present, Grand County Search and Rescue does have a temporary location for its truck and trailer near Grand Lake at Soda Springs Ranch on U.S. Highway 34. To protect this equipment, it has a carport-type shelter, but it is only large enough for its equipment trailer.

Kafer argued that finding a permanent location in the Grand Lake area is essential because “60 to 70 percent” of Grand County Search and Rescue’s missions take place in that part of the county. Most of these rescues in the winter involve snowmobilers riding the trail system in Arapaho National Forest.

Since most of the searches and rescues the local organization is involved in near Grand Lake take place in the national forest, Kafer was asked about approaching the U.S. Forest Service to provide a site for a building.

He said the Forest Service had already been approached, but had turned down the request.


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