Six months ago I decided not to seek another term on the ERBM Recreation and Parks District Board of Directors as my current commitment was coming to an end. During my eight years, I can proudly say, our board accomplished many projects. Among them were assuming management and operations of the parks from the town and planning their improvements. We developed the new strategic plan which replaced the master plan, we redrafted the staff manual and hired our current executive director.
In light of the latest decision regarding The Meeker Trail/China Wall System Expansion, which led to not choosing a local contractor, I am reminded of a quote: “When serving the public, remember, you will make 51 percent of your constituents happy and 49 percent will be unhappy. You will only hear from the 49 percent.” I will not apologize for my vote. I hesitated, and yes, was uncomfortable, when the vote came around to me, but only because I knew a vote to hire an outside entity as opposed to a local contractor would have negative consequences for myself and my business. Living in a small community, owning a business and serving on a board has proven to be challenging. I have been approached, at my place of business, on more than one occasion, challenging a decision that was made for the Rec District. I feel like I handled those situations well, but I knew it hurt my business. I ran for the board because of the love of this community and to give back to our town.
More than a week before the meeting to decide on the contractor for the Meeker Trails/China Wall System Expansion, I was given a packet containing the bids that were submitted for the project. Along with that I had access to the Rec District’s website which had the strict qualifications, guidelines and restrictions from the BLM and CPW as this project will be on BLM land. With this information I knew which contractor would be right for the job. Some of the submitted bids did not provide enough information addressing the strict qualifications and guidelines so it was not difficult to eliminate those. I realize sometimes negative consequences follow unpopular decisions as everyone is entitled to their own opinions and actions. Any decision that I have made for the Rec District has always been made with the best interest of the community in mind. As with any board or public entity a well informed public regarding knowledge and participation in procedures and processes are important to understanding the decision making process. Know the facts, do your homework, come to meetings and get to know board members. Trust your board members, they were voted in by you.
I am excited about upcoming projects that not only will benefit our district but encourage economic development: Local students have been instrumental in the planning stages of the new skate park. Many partners (financial supporters) are involved with the Circle Park Pond Project. The completion of the Meeker Trail China Wall expansion adding over four miles of biking and hiking trails. Projects like these indicates that the ERBM Rec District continues to fulfill our mission of creating opportunities for recreational, cultural and park activities for the residents and visitors to the Eastern Rio Blanco County.
I want to thank, especially some of the 51 percent, who have supported me during my eight years serving my community. I wish the new board and the Rec District well and will look forward to following their success.
Kris M. Arcolesse