Town, Rec revise agreement for Circle Park improvements

Caitlin Walker | Herald Times

By LUCAS TURNER | lucas@ht1885.com

MEEKER I Meeker’s Board of Trustees picked up where they left off earlier this month in discussing proposed improvements to Circle Park. As it stands, both entities have committed $250K of capital improvement funds in their respective 2022 budgets towards the project, but will still need to secure grant funding to move forward.

The board spent the majority of this week’s meeting discussing a proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Town and the Rec District to define responsibilities, management specifics, scope of work, liability and other parameters of the project. Meeker Trustees remain cautious about various aspects of the project due to a lack of specifics regarding in-channel river work. Concerns stem from the fact that a total scope of work cannot be identified until significant preliminary engineering work is completed. 

A proposal from SWCA Environmental Consultants for “environmental permitting and engineering design” includes costs for a stakeholder engagement process, a 404 authorization from the Army Corp of Engineers, 60% design drawings for in-channel structures and landscape design for access at 3rd and 10th streets. Total estimated cost for engineering work is $74,100 which would fall under the total estimated project cost of approximately $1.2 million. SWCA’s proposal does not include an estimated cost to achieve 100% of design drawings, which was  a sticking point for some town trustees who wanted a clearer picture of the project’s scope of work before making an agreement. 

SWCA-Proposal-10.4.21

Ultimately the board agreed to remove language about scope of work from a proposed MOU, since said work had not yet been fully outlined. Another change to the MOU included a stipulation that both parties agree to hire an outside consultant/manager to keep the project on track and within budgetary constraints. Trustees estimated the addition would likely cost $80-100K or more, but agreed the benefits would be worth the expense.

In the event the project does exceed its proposed budget, the MOU states that both entities will share costs equally. Moving forward town staff will work with ERBM staff to re-draft the MOU before both entities officially adopt the agreement.

PUBLIC WORKS

Public Works Director Russel Overton updated the board this week. Last month Meeker residents and businesses used 24 million gallons of water. Public works staff also spent time recently repairing sprinkler systems at Ute Park, painting the handrail at town hall, and dealing with beavers at the pump house.

POLICE DEPARTMENT

Police Chief Eddie Thompson listed statistics for the month of September. Meeker PD handled 334 incidents resulting in eight citations and one arrest. Chief Thompson also updated the board on efforts to address numerous complaints of dangerous driving on north Highway 13. He said CDOT is adamant about not lowering the speed limit on the highway, but “seem agreeable” to making the stretch of highway to at least County Road 15 a no-passing zone.

OTHER BUSINESS

Citing issues with Western Slope Consulting to complete revisions to the town’s land use code, town manager Mandi Etheridge asked trustees to sign off on a request for a grant fund extension from the Department of Local Affairs. This will not be the first extension the town has applied for as part of the process.

The board also approved signatures on four documents to make the town a participating government in disbursement of opioid settlement funding from the state Attorney General’s office. Exact allocation amounts are not known, but whatever the town receives must be used for approved purposes relating to opioid addiction treatment, recovery and related services/infrastructure.

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