Town of Grand Lake will allow Cultural Center to open temporarily |

Town of Grand Lake will allow Cultural Center to open temporarily

Tonya Bina
Grand County, Colorado

The town of Grand Lake, Colorado, granted the Arts Council permission to temporarily open the Community Cultural Center building from mid-December to mid-January in spite of lacking the town’s sign-off on exterior improvements.

The Grand Arts Council, the organization that is renovating the Community Cultural Center on the west end of Park Avenue, sought forgiveness as well as permission from Grand Lake’s town board Monday.

The Arts Council sought the ability to open the bottom level prior to sign-off on exterior building improvements, such as boardwalks, landscaping and road paving.

Arts Council president Jim Cervenka informed trustees that the council hopes to host an art show in the building on Dec. 13, with displayed art showcased at the building during the holiday season.

Inspection approval on electrical and plumbing is just around the corner, he said.

Cervenka told board members that two walkway encroachments plus a rock retaining wall protrusion into the town’s right of way were done by mistake and without excuse.

In 2001, the town’s board of adjustments granted permission to build the two walkways perpendicular to the building. Since they were designed at angles, the entrances may need another board of adjustments review, according to information forwarded from the town attorney.

“The encroachment really irritates me and yet we’re being asked to give other concessions,” Trustee Tom Weydert said during the meeting.

As part of a town-requested timeline for completing the exterior improvements to the building, Arts Council board members also sought permission to install a stamped concrete walkway in conformance with requirements, rather than a wooden walkway.

Arts Council members said stamped concrete would be safer for those aided by walking apparatus, such as a walker. The Council expects to install the walkway starting next year, finishing it 2010.

But board member Elmer Lanzi said “conformity and consistency of the boardwalks” needed to be a primary consideration for town aesthetics. Either the town opts for concrete walkways on all of Park Avenue, or the town sticks with wooden boardwalks.

Trustee Benton Johnson, like the rest of the board members, agreed 8-foot wooden walkways on Park Avenue are in keeping with the town’s character.

“It goes along with what most residents like about the town, the feel. We should stay with wood because that’s what the people want our town to look like,” Johnson said.

Trustees clarified that stamped concrete would be suitable across drive entrances.

The board also directed the Arts Council to improve the gravel where there will be Cultural Center parking along Ellsworth.

A detailed timeline for such improvements must be submitted to the town by Dec. 12, board members said, or else the building will remain closed through the holiday season.

Despite financial setbacks that have long delayed progress on the building, the mayor commended the Arts Council for what it has achieved, saying it already looks “1,000 times better” than it had before.

Trustee Jim Peterson also offered kudos. “I’m very impressed with the improvements done on the building,” he said, adding that he’s waited a long time to see it utilized once again.

In other news:

– Grand Lake decided to accept the county’s grant of $10,000 to keep recycling available in Grand Lake. The town plans to spend a maximum of $20,000 in 2008, a sum that includes the county’s contribution. When that is depleted, recycling will be discontinued, officials said. Meanwhile, town officials are hoping mandatory curbside trash and recycling service is in place before budgeted recycling funds run out.

– Grand Lake took a double look at its contributions to nonprofits in its draft 2009 budget. In light of economic forecasts, Mayor Judy Burke asked the board if it still felt comfortable donating a total $60,000 to nonprofit organizations on top of $16,500 in intergovernmental agreements for Grand Beginnings, Headwaters Trails Alliance and the Grand County Housing Authority. Board members resolved to keep contributions in place for this year, but take a really hard look at them during next year’s budget season.

” To reach Tonya Bina, e-mail or 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.

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