Etheridge hired as town administrator

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MEEKER | During public participation at the Meeker Board of Trustees meeting June 1, Meeker Skijor board members Alex Plumb and Sabine Murray thanked the Town for its support of the event. The Town of Meeker contributed financially toward the event as well as assisting with event preparation.

“Our event is growing and getting larger,” Plumb said.

“We opened our list on a Sunday and had to close it on Monday because it was full,” added Murray. “For a winter event it was very successful.”

Plumb and Murray said the Meeker event is very popular with the skijoring community.

“They love our track and like the way our race is run. They really do love coming to this town,” Murray said. Racers from as far as Montana participated in the second annual event earlier this year.

Pending approval of Federal licensing, Meeker is about to get its own local brewery and taproom. Trustees approved a brewery manufacturer’s license and wholesale beer license for Smoking River Brewing Company LLC, owned and managed by Kevin and Kristopher Borchard. The brothers have been growing their own hops for the last several years.

Approval of Federal license applications is expected within the next week or two, and the Borchards are hoping for a “soft opening” at the end of June at 101 Market St., most recently the home of the White River Bakery.

The taproom will be a “family-friendly” location not open past 10 p.m. with food provided by local restaurateurs.

A familiar face to the Town of Meeker’s boardroom is returning in a new capacity. Former trustee and Meeker mayor Mandi Etheridge has been hired as the new town administrator. Etheridge, who has spent six years as secretary at Meeker High School, served on the board as a trustee for four years and as mayor for six.

In regular business, the board:

  • Approved the creation of the Northwest Colorado Development Council as an amendment to the Yampa Valley Economic Development Council to be able to include additional entities that aren’t on the Yampa River, including the towns of Meeker, Rangely, Yampa and Oak Creek. The Council will be working on grants and economic development for Northwest Colorado. “Steamboat is going to take the lead,” said Mayor Kent Borchard. “They have several employees who work on grants and economic development.” Mayor Borchard was appointed to represent Meeker on the Council, with Etheridge named as alternate.
  • Approved an agreement with the Meeker Chamber, Main Street: Project 45, and the Town for a mural project at Town Park. Art teacher Ben Quinn and student Nora Gianinetti will be painting the restroom building
  • In Mayor’s remarks, Borchard reminded the board about the grand opening of the new fishing pond at Circle Park Saturday, June 5, beginning at 11 a.m. Lunch will be provided by the Lions Club at 11:30 a.m.
  • Cook said she has been in discussions with Margie Joy, representative at Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, to resurrect a rental rehabilitation program that would provide low interest loans to rental property owners for necessary repairs.
  • Cook also sought direction from the board for the renovation project of the water loadout building. Electrical work performed thus far was more extensive than anticipated and Cook suggested the board prioritize different aspects of the project — roof, siding, windows, etc. — in light of the current cost of materials.
  • Town Hall is in need of repairs to its HVAC system. Cook said the cost can come out of the amount budgeted for new carpet on the second floor (currently unoccupied), a new sign out front, and repainting the handrail.
  • The board meeting closed with a work session to discuss how to allocate funds from the American Recovery Plan. The parameters for spending the funds are limited primarily to dealing with the negative impact of the pandemic, but do include some infrastructure and clean water projects.
  • The board scheduled another work session June 15 to discuss specific expectations for hiring an economic development position within the town. The position has been budgeted.

By NIKI TURNER – editor@ht1885.com