Meeker parks and rec board chooses Arkansas firm for trail development

MEEKER | The full Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan (ERBM) Board of Directors met March 20 for regular business and discussion. After approving minutes and financials, the board considered bids for the Trails Development Project, a collaborative project with several local entities which will add 4.5 miles to the existing China Wall Trail System. Of five total bids, the two lowest bids came from local contractors, one from T&M Contracting for $43,563 and one from Rock Hawg Construction Inc. for $95,844. Three out-of-town companies placed bid, as well, with price tags ranging between $150,000 and $170,000.

The proposed trails are on Bureau of Land Management property, and Aaron Grimes from the BLM recommended the board go with the third highest bid of $150,044.40 from Progressive Trail Design, a Bentonville, Ark., company. Progressive Trail Design completed most of the existing China Wall Trail System. Grimes talked about the importance of specialized expertise with trail building, as the bid language allows for a 100 foot corridor along the generalized trail path. He stated, “contractors have to be able to see how the water flows down the hillside,” in order to create the best possible trail, which will greatly minimize required future maintenance.

The total project budget is $143,750 with funds coming from a Colorado Parks and Wildlife grant ($106,750.00), ERBM ($20,000), BLM ($2,000), the Town of Meeker ($10,000) and Rio Blanco County ($5,000).

Sean VonRoenn, ERBM executive director, stated via email, “Never in my career have I seen local, county, state and federal investment come together like this on this project.”

After discussion, the board voted to accept Progressive Trail Design’s bid as long as the final contract does not exceed the budget; the company will need to slice about $6,000 off their final bid to qualify.

BLM has secured two weeks of youth corps labor to help bring down costs and VonRoenn mentioned recruiting community volunteers as well.

The board also discussed a request from Moffat County’s high school swim teams to utilize the lap pool from mid-November to mid-May. Moffat County’s high school pool has fallen into disrepair and is being closed, so the teams are seeking a new place to practice.

They have requested rental of ERBM’s lap lanes,  potentially on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons.

“I don’t like the idea of our folks, our patrons, not being able to use the pool,” stated board vice-president Kent Walter. The board discussed trying the arrangement for a year and only offering practice times during the most under-utilized pool hours as well as charging $10 per lane, which is on the higher end of the spectrum for lane rental. Several directors mentioned the possibility of more Meeker kids being able to join the Moffat County team if they do indeed practice at the Meeker Recreation Center; last year three local students swam for Moffat County. Walter suggested a comment period for the public to be able to voice complaints before moving ahead, to which the board agreed.

Board members reviewed 2017’s annual report again. It will be made available to the public in hard copy format at the recreation center as well as on ERBM’s website at www.erbmrec.com. The report highlights key projects, usage, statistics, revenues and more.

The board also discussed the upcoming R100 archery tournament and potential requests from the Meeker Sportsman’s Club for materials and support staff. ERBM and Meeker Arts and Cultural Council (MACC) are partnering to provide a community concert (ERBM), and beer garden (MACC), downtown on Saturday, Aug. 11 in tandem with the event.

The board viewed mock-ups of the finalized district signage project, which was spearheaded by Main Street Meeker: Project 45. The signs are being fabricated and will start popping up around town once the weather is favorable.

VonRoenn presented an amended plan for the Circle Park Pond Project, which will decrease the overall footprint from one to 0.75 total acres.

“We still accomplish all of our recreational fishing goals with it and (it’s) a little bit more manageable,” VonRoenn said. “The current thought is to have it primarily be a groundwater-fed pond with some ancillary surplus from the ditch with a diversion box and one or two c.f.s. from the ditch.” The next phase in the project will be a more formalized concept and engineering/preconstruction plan as well as vetting water rights and groundwater permits through a water rights attorney.

Finally, the board discussed the new performance appraisal tool for the executive director position. Walter, VonRoenn and human resources Administrator Cathy Kiser worked together over the past few months to create a streamlined appraisal tool, cutting out redundancies and narrowing categories of review from 10 to five. The board expressed appreciation for the effort that went into creating the tool, and outgoing board member Drew Varland stated he felt it would be a very important resource for the newly elected board members following May’s election.

Today at 5:30 p.m., ERBM will host a Skate Park Focus Group for all interested parties with free pizza provided. The event will be held in the Meeker Recreation Center Multipurpose room.

The next board meeting is scheduled for April 17 at 6 p.m.