Guest Column: ERBM Summer Spotlight

MEEKER I ERBM’s Summer Line-Up, in mailboxes the end of this week, is always jam-packed and this year is no different, with new opportunities like YouthFest on July 20, to traditional offerings such as the Park to Art Races, Summer Concert Series, Run for your Life 5K, Stars-n-Stripes 3-on-3 Shootout, Running Club, Walking Club, and all kinds of activities for all ages from tot to active adult.

In addition to preparing for these great upcoming events and programs, ERBM has also been working diligently behind the scenes to move forward with exciting park improvements at Circle Park and we’d like to give some background information and updates on the status of this project.

More than 10 years ago, the Town of Meeker, along with support from staff at our regional Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) office, made initial efforts toward accomplishing the installation of a small one surface-acre fishing pond at Circle Park (located just south of Fifth and Water streets.) to accommodate improved local fishing and related angling educational opportunities and events. Since that time, ERBM has assumed operations and maintenance of Meeker’s community parks and worked in partnership with CPW to host numerous well attended youth fishing and ice-fishing events, even though the quality of these activities is often diminished by limited space, poor access, and poor fish habitat at the existing irrigation ditch (former Meeker Power Ditch).

Community feedback collected as part of ERBM’s past outreach and planning efforts in 2012 and 2015 confirmed citizen interest in the expansion of safe and accessible local fishing facilities as well as updating the park amenities located at Circle Park. In 2017, ERBM’s Board of Directors approved moving forward as the primary fiduciary agent in the installation of a new fishing pond at Circle Park and began working collaboratively with various partner stakeholders toward transforming the current shallow, narrow irrigation ditch into a high quality trout fishery.  The amenity will serve local residents as well as the many out of town travelers already frequenting the tent-camping, RV hookups, dump station, and various recreational amenities available at both Town Park and Circle Park. 

ERBM is pleased to be working with a broad cooperative of public and private co-sponsoring entities and individuals who have invested vital financial assistance and expertise to make this project possible, including the Town of Meeker, CPW, WREA, Cemetery District, Five Rivers Inc., Water Pump Supply & Service, LLC., Colorado River District, Great Outdoors Colorado, Edwards Family Foundation, Rob and Melanie Walton Foundation, Marvine Ranch, Elk Creek Ranch, and Basin Electric. Approximately $188,000 has been committed to date from grants and donations toward the project, as well as countless hours of voluntary professional consultation.

TDA Construction is under contract to build the pond and is shooting for a late summer, early fall start date. Initial site prep and excavation is anticipated to last through the fall of 2019, with some park improvements holding over for completion in 2020. In conjunction with the pond, additional proposed enhancements include a circumnavigating perimeter pedestrian path, improved trail connection leading up to the Cemetery District overlook and new Bank Robbery Trail walking tour that the Rio Blanco Historical Society is working to complete, a new park pavilion structure, improved river bank mitigation and access, expanded vehicle drive and parking, as well as other infrastructure updates (i.e. electrical/lighting, landscaping, fencing, signage, etc.). A preliminary design plan for the pond can be found at www.ERBMrec.com/park-projects. Park design and construction updates will be posted on this website, ERBM’s social media, the Rio Blanco Herald Times as well as on-site at the park. ERBM welcomes any feedback you have on any aspect of the project and looks forward to bringing these tremendous new amenities and features to the community in the very near future.

Have a great summer and we hope to see you out enjoying a community event, program, park or trail sometime soon.

By Sean VonRoenn | ERBM Recreation & Park District

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