The money came from entry fees to the fourth annual competition this summer, events which have netted the town $3,500 so far.
“I just want to thank you guys,” Middleton, 17, said of the town’s support in building, and now expanding the features at the Athletic Park near the south end of town. “And the addition of the drinking fountain this year was great.”
The feeling was mutual. Mayor Pat Willits congratulated the skaters and then added that a Great Outdoors Colorado mini grant had just been awarded in the amount of $44,000 to build “street” features at the skatepark. They have the bowl, which is vert skating, explained Middleton, who organizes the September competition. “But most of the skaters in the U.S. are street skaters. So, we’re going to add street features, such as stairs, rails, ledges and pyramids.”
Town Manager Jen Coates noted that Middleton had written a letter in support of the grant application. And that with the town’s contribution of around $10,000, “Sam’s donation,” and “some other in-kind donations,” the work can get started next spring.
“I know a lot of kids who would like to be on a youth committee,” Middleton said. “To contribute to ideas on park improvements.”
Coates agreed to work with Middleton on such a committee.
Energy Action Plan Takes Place
Town Manager Jen Coates updated Ridgway’s town council last week on the Energy Action Plan being developed by Ouray and San Miguel Counties.
It’s a collaborative document, Coates said, 10 months in the making now, funded by stimulus money through the Governor’s Energy Office and administered by the grant recipient, The New Community Coalition.
The idea, in a nutshell, is for the two counties, and their municipalities, to come up with strategies for quantifying energy use and, eventually, for gaining efficiency, adding renewables and lowering CO2 emissions region wide in the timeframe 2010-2020.
A draft plan has been posted on the bulletin board of Ridgway’s town web site.
The volunteer board charged with developing the plan, the Western San Juans Community Energy Board (watch out for the acronyms, Coates warned) is looking at each community’s energy use: residential, commercial and governmental, electric and natural gas, diesel and propane; at transportation demands; at water use; and waste production and disposal.
“It’s a really significant undertaking,” Coates said. But once a baseline is established – how much and what kinds of energy are we using now – the communities involved can set goals for reducing use.
“There are a number of gaps in the draft document,” Coates admitted. “We have no figures for transportation, for one. And waste. We don’t know how much waste is being produced in our counties. And because it is hauled out of the area, it’s difficult to estimate the green house gas (GHG) emissions produced by that waste.”
But, she added, “The town has a good start on all this with its green building code adopted this year.” As the plan rolls out, she added, “some staffing and financial contribution will be required of each jurisdiction.” It won’t be anything close to a full-time position, she said, but each entity (towns and counties) will need to appoint an Energy Action Coordinator, who will report to the Community Energy Coordinator at TNCC and implement the eventual action plan.
Council asked if someone had been picked out to be Ridgway’s EAC. Mayor Pro Tem John Clark suggested town Building Inspector Bill Behan, and Coates agreed Behan “would be a good fit.”
Although he hadn’t agreed yet to take on the EAC mantle, Behan has been conducting energy audits for the town: totaling electric bills from San Miguel Power Association; adding up SourceGas costs; same for diesel, propane and gasoline; and calculating the energy consumption at the town’s wastewater treatment plant, at Town Hall and other town buildings.
Clark noted that “the document contemplates some money in the future to pay an EAC.”
“Is there a timeline for implementing any of this?” asked Councilor Rick Weaver.
“Not yet,” said Coates. “It’s a living document. But you’re right. There needs to be a timeline.”
“There’s a lot of good ideas in here,” Weaver elaborated, waving the 43-page draft strategy. “Ridgway could decide to implement some of them and make our own timeline.”
“I think the document contemplates that,” said Clark. Coates said that the collaborative nature of the plan is meant to help the small communities involved with funding and information sharing, and is not intended to limit what the town might do. She listed a couple of things the town is already looking into: mandatory recycling in town government and a move to a completely paperless system in house.
“I’d like to see this become a priority,” Weaver concluded.
“Wow,” Mayor Willits said as he thumbed through the draft. “It says here that the residential use of gas and electricity in the Mountain Village is greater than all the usage (residential, commercial, governmental) for all of Ouray County including the municipalities of Ridgway and Ouray.”
Master Plan to Be Revisited in 2011
In other business, the Ridgway Town Council heard from Manager Jen Coates that the 2011 update of the town master plan is coming along. “The planning commission is focusing on three plan elements,” Coates said, “land use, the historic preservation component, and capital improvements. They’re not looking at [revising] everything.
“We’re working with pretty limited resources,” she said. “The budget is $20,000 for this plan update. Ten years ago it cost $70,000. But the planning commission has offered a lot of help.”
“We’re actually lucky that it’s pretty dead right now,” said planning commission member (and mayor pro tem) John Clark. “We can work on this. I’m excited, actually. There’s good energy on the commission right now.”
• Town Clerk Pam Kraft read from a letter to council by the man who audited the town’s 2009 budget. “Overall, you’ve held your own,” he wrote. “You stayed the same as 2008 . . . Most small towns are hurting. There have been significant decreases in sales taxes across Colorado . . . 2011 will be another tough year.”
• In staff reports, Town Engineer Joanne Fagan reported that the pedestrian bridge at South Cora and Moffat streets will be widened, the deck and beams replaced, and bike-height railings installed. They’re just waiting on engineering specs to move ahead.
• Jen Coates reported that water and sewer rates are going up again in 2011, as part of a three-year plan. Notice went out in the latest bills, she said.
• Coates reported that the weed committee is working on an integrated weed plan. Meetings will start in January. “Public input is desired,” she said. “We’re on a pretty tight schedule. There’s a lot of information, some of it controversial. We hope to have the plan done and ready for council in March.” Information will be posted on the town’s web site.
• Town Attorney John Kapa reported that some residents of Vista Terrace subdivision “are interested in forming some kind of improvement district and paving the streets” there. “Is council amenable?” Kapa asked.
“I can’t imagine that we might not be interested,” replied Mayor Pat Willits.
Kapa explained that of the two ways to finance the paving, a special assessment would be the more likely. Residents of Vista Terrace would bill themselves for the cost of the paving, then the town would take over maintenance.
Town Public Works Director Joanne Fagan expressed some skepticism about the plan, well intentioned though it may be. “Even the chip sealing price was going to be twice what they [the residents] thought it was going to be when they walked in the door,” she said.