Oak Creek to discuss policing future

Town Board also to talk about Community Center access issue


If you go

What: Oak Creek Town Board meeting

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Oak Creek Town Hall

— The Oak Creek Town Board will consider a bid for long-awaited renovations to improve access to the South Routt Community Center at its meeting tonight, as well as initiate its discussions on the future of the Oak Creek Police Department.

The town is poised to rebuild the department from scratch, after Chief Russ Caterinicchio and Sgt. Erik Foster tendered their resignations Sept. 11. The town's community service officer also resigned.

"We'll want to go about this slowly and methodically," Trustee and Police Commissioner Dave Ege said. "We're going to obviously be looking for input from the town, seeing what they want from policing."

The board likely will schedule a public forum in the coming weeks to gather input before taking further action, Mayor J. Elliott said.

Law enforcement services in Oak Creek are being provided by the department's remaining officer, Eileen Rossi, and the Routt County Sheriff's Office. Rossi, a part-time officer, works for the town only during summer and expects to leave the state next month.

In figuring out what to do next, the Town Board will have to do its best to balance experience with its budget, Ege said.

"We need to make sure we can afford what the town wants," Ege said. "We've got challenges, but we'll figure it out."

The board will start tonight with some of the more procedural aspects of the process, tying up loose ends such as deciding whether to continue contracts on the cell phones used by the department's former officers, Town Clerk Karen Halterman said.

Community Center work

The town of Oak Creek and the South Routt Community Center's board have been working since 2004 to improve access to the Community Center, Halterman said. Halterman also sits on the community center's board.

The town received a single bid from Blue Water Development for the estimated $136,000 project, which will revamp access to the Oak Creek facility's second floor, its primary meeting space.

"As it sits right now, the handicapped access in front is just not workable," Halterman said. "The slope is too much, too long. In the winter, it's icy. Someone with a powerized wheelchair can get up there, but no one else can."

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs originally granted $65,000 for the project, and the town has applied for more than $37,000 in supplemental grant funds to cover the increase in the cost of construction since 2004.

The project had to be re-engineered since its original conception, because the property's slope made an Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible rear entrance impractical, Halterman said.

Because the town of Oak Creek needed to act as the granting agency for DOLA funds, the South Routt Community Center temporarily was deeded back to the town at the project's inception. Hence, the Town Board will be the agency to sign the contract for the construction, Halterman said.

Other funds contributing to the renovations include $10,000 from the Adolph Coors Foundation, $9,927 from the South Routt Community Corporation, $3,000 from Routt County, $2,600 from Routt County United Way, $1,712 in community contributions, $1,000 from the Routt County Council on Aging and $500 from the town of Yampa.

Oak Creek will provide $4,500 in in-kind services to remove the existing railings and concrete at the community center, Halterman said.

Also tonight, the Town Board will consider the renewal of Select Super's liquor license.


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