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Grand County Rodeo arena required for BLM Land Patent

A rodeo arena must remain on the 55.34-acre land patent south of Granby, says Susan Cassel, realty specialist for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Kremmling.Whatever you are using the land for, it still has to qualify under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act, Cassel explains.The Department of the Interior granted Grand County the land for the Flying Heels Rodeo Arena in 1984.Talk of moving the arena to make way for a new 40,000-square-foot medical campus recently came up during a Sept. 30 meeting between members of the Kremmling Memorial Hospital District (KMHD) and rodeo groups. The site KMHD was considering nearby had access and grade problems and would require extensive retaining walls. To avoid added costs, an engineer and rodeo member suggested building the medical campus on flat ground occupied by the current arena, then rebuilding the arena downhill and out of the wind.Dust control and wind have been ongoing issues for the rodeo. No matter what is decided, BLM’s Cassel says, an arena has to be part of the plan.The rodeo grounds would have to be rebuilt because that was what the patent was issued for. Read on for Questions and Answers from the Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regarding the land patent and proposed medical facility. What is the County’s position on the medical facility location?The BOCC is committed to enhancing the quality of life for all Grand County citizens. This summer, when the KMHD submitted a letter to the commissioners asking that a parcel of public land be used for a heath care facility, not taking away from its current use, it seemed like something that should be considered. Residents in eastern Grand County have been asking for a centrally located, modern health care facility for years.The County remains committed to the rodeo’s future. Over the past 10 years, the County has invested $500,000 in capital improvements including corrals, return alley, guardrails on bleachers, crow’s nest, water line, sound system, electric, maintenance and repairs. With these improvements, the arena may be used for a variety of purposes like the cutting horse event and concerts. Everyone in the county has different needs and desires and the BOCC is doing its best to serve the community as a whole. What is a land patent?A patent is a deed to an entity. In 1926, due to a strong need nationwide for parks and recreation, the Department of the Interior passed the Recreation and Public Purposes Act (RPPA) to authorize the sale or lease of public land to state and local governments and qualified non-profit organizations. The RPPA is administered by the BLM. Grand County was granted a 55.34-acre land patent south of Granby in 1984. The land sits south of Granby on the east side of Highway 40 directly east and south of the Grand Elk Ranch & Club administrative offices (the former Timberline Clinic).Can the county develop whatever it wants on the land?Each RPPA land patent has a management plan dictating how the land must be used. The BLM has a list of what type of development may take place under the RPPA. The list includes recreation, education, public health, law enforcement and fire station facilities, among others. If the land is no longer used for its original purpose, it reverts back to the U.S. government. In 2003, when the Grand Events Center Committee approached the BOCC about possibly building an indoor events center on the land, the County amended the management plan, which was approved by the BLM. What are the next steps KMHD will need to take?Like any other applicant, KMHD will need to follow the public process. First, a request would go to Planning and Zoning for an Outright Exemption to parcel off approximately 10 acres from the 55 acres, which leaves about 40 acres. A public hearing will be held. Next, the site must be re-zoned for a hospital. After Planning and Zoning, KMHD will take its request to the BOCC. The commissioners will need to pass a resolution to file a RPPA application to the BLM along with a revised management plan showing existing and planned facilities, a timetable for development, maintenance responsibilities, and a source of development funds. The BLM reviews the application and management plan and conducts an environmental assessment.Where can I find more information?If you have any questions, please see the County Web site at co.grand.co.us, or call the Board of County Commissioners at 970-725-3347. For questions about the medical campus, contact the Grand County Rural Health Network at 970-887-3064, or go to gcruralhealth.com


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