County addresses fairgrounds concerns
|Locked horse stalls at the fairgrounds were part of the discussion at the Carbon County Commission meeting last week. Commissioners say that even though the facility is there for the use of the public, the stalls need to be locked because people abuse the privilege of using them by letting their animals dirty the stalls and then not cleaning up after the animals. The stalls are mainly used for equestrian and rodeo events that are held at the facility.|
Kevin Hansen occupied center stage at last week's commission meeting when the local resident approached Carbon lawmakers carrying a bucket filled with chunks of concrete.
"I was using the main arena at the fairgrounds yesterday and I found these in the soil there," explained Hansen as he passed the container around the commission chambers. "I want to remain positive about this whole thing, but I am concerned about the fairgrounds, it's use and what it is really for."
Hansen, who visits the facility on a frequent basis during the summer, indicated that the arena is often so hard it is almost unusable. He also questioned the practice of keeping the horse stalls locked.
"If this is for public use, how come it is locked up?" asked Hansen.
Commissioner Tom Matthews, who has been over the fairgrounds for a number of years, addressed the situation and defended employees who work at the fairgrounds.
"I know that our crew out there would not drive over that concrete on the tractor if the workers saw it," stressed Matthews. "They would toss it out of the arena. I think they just didn't see it."
With numerous activities taking place at the fairgrounds, Matthews pointed out that the crews do not always have the time to maintain the facilities the way they would like, including grooming the arena.
"We have 200 horse stalls there," continued Matthews. "We used to leave them unlocked so people could use them. But they wouldn't clean them after. Soon, we had people moving from one stall to another instead of cleaning the ones they used. It became a real problem."
Hansen also brought up several things he had observed such as asphalt piled on the ground as well as scrap iron and old tires piled by the outdoor arena.
"I just feel there needs to be a direction," said Hansen. "What is the facility for? Maybe we need to stand back from the situation. I want to remain positive and understand what is going on, but stuff like these chunks of concrete are like land mines out in the arena. I just think these things are clean up issues and safety issues."
Some of the areas at the fairgrounds looked really good, particularly the lawn in the park, added Hansen.
Commissioner Bill Krompel indicated that the fairgrounds, while essentially equestrian in nature, is a multiple use facility . He also commented about the amount of asphalt that is being put in and suggested that was not good for horses.
"That is an area where we play to put in playground equipment," stated Krompel. "We have a lot of activities and facilities out there. The arena is used for many kinds of things. There are the motocross track, the miniature airport, the new exhibition building. The asphalt is an important part of the development of the facility."
The commissioners recently divided the duties at the fairgrounds and the lawmakers have assume individual responsibilities at the facility.
The lawmakers said the county commission would look into the safety and maintenance concerns raised by Hansen.
In an unrelated item on the meeting's agenda, the county commissioners were introduced by Kathy Smith to the new Castle Country Travel Region coordinator to the Energy Loop Scenic Byway, Joan Taylor.
Taylor told the commission that her goal as coordinator will be to increase visitation by tourists on the byway and to see that the signage that is being installed on the road is completed.
Acting on another county business matter, the lawmakers reiterated county government's stand on any construction in the Beaver Creek area slightly west of U.S. Highway 6 near Colton.
"We have said it before and I think we need to say it again - until the land owners there get together and contribute land to an easement through some kind of association, we are not going to allow building in the area." emphasized Commissioner Mike Milovich.
"There needs to be at least some kind of restricted access to the area and guaranteed access for those with property in the area," stressed Milovich.
Krompel agreed, pointing out that the key words regarding the area were "perpetual access."
County building official Dave Levanger advised the commissioners that all the landowners in the affected area had been sent letters outlining Carbon government's position on access.
However, Levanger said the building department had yet to hear from the majority of the individual land owners in question.
In other actions taken during last week's regularly scheduled public meeting:
The commissioners agreed to allow the Huber Company to relocate a gas well originally planned for one site to a different area.
"The well is still on the Jensen property, but we want to move it 657 feet north of where we originally intended to put it," explained Bryan Wood, acting as the spokesman for Huber.
Ben Clement from the county's geographical information systems approached the commission about applying for grant money.
The grant revenues would help in the department's quest to map all roads and all parcels of land in the county with a geographical positioning system.
"They have released $600,000 in grant money and I think we can apply for about $20,000 of that and get it," Clement advised the lawmakers.
The grant has strings attached, but the requirements are not anything the county is not already doing, added Clements. The strings include matching a portion of the funds, changing the way some of the GIS money is reported and verifying surface ownership of land in the county.
"We have about 7,500 parcels of land in the county on a digitized data base, largely because of the water districts needs," noted Clement. "Now I have about 5000 left to do, many of them government owned. Actually, we were fortunate this money has showed up; it's just in time to do this."
The commission authorized Clement to apply for the grant.
Krompel reported that the United States Federal Aviation Administration has allocated monies to pay for more improvements at the airport.
"The project will cost about $3 million, of which they will pay a large part and the state will pay much of the rest," explained Krompel. "We will be on the hook for 5 percent of the final $1.1 million ourselves."
The commission approved the project.
Matthews brought up the condition of the road in Nine Mile Canyon once again.
"I had another call over the weekend about how bad that road is," pointed out Matthews. "What are we going to do?"
Krompel indicated that he met with 30 to 40 interested parties for two hours about the situation a couple of weeks ago.
"Part of the problem is that there has been no water with which to grade the road so the road department hasn't been able to do much with it," said Krompel. "But after the thundershowers the other day, Ray (Hanson, road shop foreman) sent up some people to work on it. We are working with Duchesne County on some long- and short-term solutions to the problems."
Matthews also brought up the problem of reporting accidents by county employees or on county property.
"In the past, accidents that occurred were often reported to various people instead of one," stated Matthews. "The way it has been done often gives us no protection. For instance, there was an accident that happened on county property last year and no one knew about it until later, when they were in the hospital. Some get reported, some don't. We open ourselves up for discrimination by not having a set way of doing this."
According to Carbon government's insurance company, any accident that results in injury, death or in excess of $100 in damage is supposed to be reported, indicated the county's safety officer, Dennis Dooley.
After a discussion about employees who frequently have accidents or damage county property and how to keep records on the related problems, the commission decided to look into setting up a task force to develop with a consistent policy on accident reporting and investigation.