Fairgrounds improvements submitted to service district
At a meeting of the Carbon County Special Service District on Jan. 5, officials involved in the planning, maintenance and future of the fairgrounds submitted a list of needs spanning the next year and beyond.
"This list is purely preliminary," pointed out Carbon Commissioner Bill Krompel after the meeting. "Nothing is set in concrete. It is just a way to let the board know what we think we need."
Earlier, Krompel explained to the board that many projects at the fairgrounds had been funded by the county in the past. But due to a lean county budget, all of the projects and equipment requested in 2004 had been cut to balance the books.
Krompel and fairgrounds personnel discussed the list of proposed projects that include renovation and expansion of the motocross track, important work on the outdoor arena, more work on the new community center, and the final finishing and equipping of the new concession stand.
A list of needed equipment, ranging from a water truck to a refrigerator for the concession stand, was also submitted.
The request for new equipment and projects at the fairgrounds totaled $284,700.
In some cases, Krompel said the requests only included the price of materials because the projects will be done by in-house employees. The matter, however, drew concern from members of the board.
"Some of this money is for revamping things that aren't that old," commented board member Sam Quigley. "Were these things done in-house? I worry that sometimes we try to save money by doing things internally that we don't have the real skills to do. We need to be sure that our standards are high on these projects and we get them right."
The comments came on the tail of another request made by Patty Pappas, representing league users of the softball fields near the fairgrounds.
Pappas asked the special service district board to look at financing new lights for the fields because the old ones are inadequate and even dangerous for players.
"I have about 100 signatures supporting us on this," stated Pappas. "We have had some tournaments out there and many of the teams said they will not return until those lights are fixed. Because of that the community is losing a lot of money."
The lights currently in place at the fields were apparently installed years ago, without any type of an engineering study.
According to sources at the special service district meeting, the work was done by in-house personnel.
"Do we need engineering on this project before we proceed?" inquired Quigley. "Maybe that was the problem to begin with."
Pappas said that players find the lights fixtures are not only adjusted wrong but that the poles are in the wrong spots for good coverage of the field.
Many players have been hit because they couldn't see a ball coming.
"I'm not sure there is anything wrong with the light fixtures themselves," she stated, adding that "all the fields are equally bad."
Krompel pointed out that the lights that are presently on the field are what they are because the "original install was purely a function of the money available."
Rather than buying new lights and poles from a contractor, the board voted to find an independent engineer to study the problem.
As for fairgrounds requests the board quickly approved some equipment to finish up the concession stand interior (counter tops, a grill and a refrigerator) and an urgent request for a new snowblower, all with a total price of about $17,000.
In other business board chairman Pace Hansen reported that two land deals that the board has been working on are now complete.
The first is a house near the golf course that the district has purchased. The residents need to move out the rest of their belongings and turn over the key to golf course personnel before the deal is complete.
The other land issue concerned some property that the district has purchased above Scofield Reservoir on Muddy Creek.
"We closed on that property on Christmas Eve," Hansen told the board. "The deed has now been recorded."
The property, which borders the creek, has been purchased to provided extra future recreation opportunities for the county and to also reduced the impact of cattle on the downstream reservoir.
The property has been closed to the public for fishing for years and has had numerous cows grazing on it, particularly around the stream, for a long time.
Cattle can create nutrient load problems in steams and eliminating grazing from above the main water source for Carbon County was one of the main reasons for the purchase.
The board also agreed to give raises of 10 percent to Linda Ballard and Bob Pero, the boards administrator and financial advisor, respectively.
Neither had received any kind of raise connected with their employment with the special service district in over four years.