Oak Creek residents look into grants for capital project


— With the Oak Creek town budget tight and town staff already stretched thin with loads of work, resident Jackie Brown decided to find a way to initiate a project to better the community — without the town government.

That’s when she started looking at potential grants that could be used for town projects and organized a meeting of eight people Tuesday night to start the process.

“We have a lot of families that are moving to Oak Creek, and we’d like to be able to provide them with reasons to stay as their children grow up,” she said. “(We can) slowly and surely turn the community into something that has a little bit more to offer.”

A town swimming pool, Brown suggested to the group. Maybe a trail system, Nikki Knoebel said. Those two big projects stuck out as potential goals but also as projects that would require a lot of work.

Brown said she got the idea because she sees other communities getting grant funding for major projects, and she wanted to do the same.

Without a town manager, and without piles of money sitting around from the town, Brown said the group is looking into the possibility of creating a nonprofit group to lead the project.

Tuesday night was the first meeting, and she said they would advertise future meetings as the process progresses.

For now, the group members have research to do regarding the costs and ongoing maintenance required for projects such as those.

“Really, the biggest thing I pointed out is … I want to make sure it can be run and taken care of,” Knoebel said.

Knoebel, also the mayor, participated in an unofficial capacity. “I’d hate to do all this work for the town, then in 10 years, we won’t be able to run it and we’d have a run-down pool.”

She said group members were looking at what it would take and asking around at places such as the Craig pool, which charges a small fee.

Andy Benjamin, who hosted the meeting at his Chelsea’s restaurant and is working with the group, said he appreciates the attractions in Steamboat Springs, but having a pool or trail in Oak Creek would cut down on driving time and possibly could provide year-round activities.

Brown said mem­­­­bers discussed the possibility of polling residents of all of South Routt Coun­­ty about what kind of facility they would like, but ultimately, the group will decide on a project that it thinks will be useful to a large group of people.

“The ideas of the pool and the trail system are things we think — there are a lot of people who it would better their lives,” she said. “Let’s go with these, and let’s see what’s feasible.”


Scott Wedel 5 years, 3 months ago

I want a swimming pool like Craig. I want a pedestrian downtown like Steamboat. I want everyone else to pay for everything.

While it wouldn't quite be a swimming pool, the intersection of Sharp and Oak has enough water coming through during the Spring that it is nearly quicksand so it wouldn't take much to make it into a swimming hole. And they could use the water leaks from the rotted water line to run a water slide.

Oak Creek is a town with severe infrastructure issues and they sit around and dream about additional infrastructure.


Fred Duckels 5 years, 3 months ago

Scott, It is tempting to dream about grants when big brother down the road is engulfed in grant mania. This phenomenon lets state and feds amass power and political clout by dispensing funds to further their ends. Many of ;the strings attached are agenda driven and we get very little bang for the buck, but a nice shopping spree feels good once in a while. I think that towns like Steamboat probably soak up goodies at the expense of other less aggressive and less prosperous communities. Bagging a big buck is the mark of a good hunter. Go OaK Creek!


Scott Wedel 5 years, 3 months ago

Fred, Well, most grants require local matching so Steamboat with all of its tourism generated sales tax has an easy time matching grants.

While Oak Creek has been working on some parts of its infrastructure, there are still multiple massive issues. Water tank, dam spillway, water lines, water meters, electrical system and roads. As well as still a bunch of clay sewer lines, drainage issues due to lack of storm drains and so on. Water tank is in next year's budget due to a grant. But dam spillway could at any time have Army Corps of Engineers say is unsafe and force the town to cut their water storage in half which could easily cause water shortages in Town.

Oak Creek repairs more water line leaks per month than both water districts in SB combined. That is because OC has more leaks to fix. And there are minors things like that they have been unable for 3 years to get the street lights to work on south Sharp.

If there are grants out there that don't need matches then OC needs them for their current infrastructure, not to add infrastructure.


Jeff_Kibler 5 years, 3 months ago

Scott, You're shooting yourself in the foot. You've invested in properties in Oak Creek, yet you incessantly complain about and denigrate OC. I'm convinced to avoid OC and take my money elsewhere.


sethlor 5 years, 3 months ago

Good work Jackie et al! It's this kind of initiative that defines a community and will make it a better place to live and visit. Keep up the good work and ignore the nay-sayers. If you didn't have people taking down your ideas they probably wouldn't have merit. Every good idea has people of lesser intelligence and motivation saying it can't be done. Keep your head up and everyone will reap the benefits!


Scott Wedel 5 years, 3 months ago

Jeff, You were really about to invest in Oak Creek, but decided otherwise because of my comments? So am I right, but wrong to bring up these issues publicly?

And if that is what you did then that's fine because I'm in it for the long haul and as soon as OC becomes as competently run as Hayden then everyone with a stake in Oak Creek does very well. (And I am not talking about allowing annexations).

When was the last time Hayden had a significant police issue? How many water mines broke this year in Hayden? What is Hayden's big recent infrastructure issue? Know that, annexation issue of developer going bust and using the developer's bonds/deposits to do the needed work.

What was most recent SB Today article on grant money and desired improvements? A swimming pool? Nope, they got grant money plus some from the town to pay for a feasibility study on a 50 room motel. They already have the site which is zoned to allow it to be built.

Anyone seriously think Town of Oak Creek would consider chipping in for a business feasibility study? Or would it instead become a bruising fight over whether OC wants to have a 50 room motel?

Not that OC needs to become Hayden, but some competence would be nice


ftpheide 5 years, 3 months ago

Jeff, I agree with you. There has to be a better place to resolve these issues. I can only assume the "life coach" position hasn't been filled yet !


Jeff_Kibler 5 years, 3 months ago

Scott, If you want to effect change in OC, why not move there and get elected to the town board? Enthrall us with your acumen.

BTW: The facetious first paragraph of your first comment - excellent. As Fred has pointed out many times, grants are just another channel to get " ... everyone else to pay for everything." Good luck in your business ventures. Hopefully they will prosper and provide much needed employment.


sledneck 5 years, 3 months ago

"The State is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else." Bastiat


max huppert 5 years, 3 months ago

soon the new buisness will open in OC and make all the money. The Coal Miner's Daughter.


dave fisher 5 years, 2 months ago

how very ironic, Fred, that you take this opportunity to climb aboard the soap box and prosyletize more of your tea party drivel.

it just so happens that the USDA grants that the town of Oak creek will be paying for (for the next FORTY YEARS, i might add) will barely cover the costs the NEW WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT... that your company won the low-bid contract to build.... right, Fred?

you remind me of a pig that is fattening at the trough while at the very same time telling the farmer that the slop is not to its liking.


Scott Wedel 5 years, 2 months ago

I see no Tea Party drivel in Fred's post. It is obvious that politicians like giving grants to wealthy towns to enhance their popularity with the people that vote. From a societal point of view, it makes no sense for SB to get the sort of grants they get.

It is also obvious that grants are written with requirements that add costs that private business do not put into their bid requests.

Oak Creek does not have to repay the USDA grants for the wastewater treatment plant. The Town has to repay the USDA LOANS. The USDA thinks that towns like Oak Creek should have been building reserves to pay for obvious infrastructure needs like a water plant. Thus, they don't want to be seen rewarding poorly managed towns by giving them grants for what responsible towns handled on their own.

Thus, the water and sewer users of Oak Creek are getting a taste of what is going to happen to our nation. They are being forced to pay more because of a lack of proper budgeting in the past.

Fred is the low bidder on the project. I am glad Fred is working on it because if he had not bid then the Town would have been paying that much more for someone else to do it. Thus, Fred should be viewed as someone that saved the Town money.


dave fisher 5 years, 2 months ago

i'll make it real simple then: Fred is a hypocrite. it doesn't take a long-winded dissertation from the Prof. to see that.


sledneck 5 years, 2 months ago

If Fred is a hypocrite he's in good company.

As the lowest bidder, if Fred did not exist Oak Creek would be paying MORE for the wastewater plant, no?

Is anyone so blind as to think that contractors like Fred are the problem? I guess these are the same people who blame Smith & Wesson for Bank robberies.

It's the government thats wasting your grandkids money, Mr Fisher. Not contractors.


dave fisher 5 years, 2 months ago

Fred's company is profitting from a government contract (paid for via GOVERNMENT GRANTS and matching funds from the town). low bidders are generally awarded government contracts, so what?. if Fred wasn't there to be awarded that government contract, another contractor would surely be there to take his place. so to answer your question, 'Sled, no.

and Mr. Duckels is still a hypocrite.


Scott Wedel 5 years, 2 months ago

If Fred is a hypocrite for being the low bidder on contracts and is willing to speak out saying these contracts have strings attached and have agenda driven items by officials seeking power and political clout, then we need more hypocrites like Fred.

And see why people hate doing business with the Town of Oak Creek. Here is a private businessman placing the low bid on a contract so the Town pays less money than if he had not bid, but a former Town Board member feels the need to repeatedly call him a hypocrite.

And yes, Town would have paid more if Fred had not bid on it.


exduffer 5 years, 2 months ago

I bet Mr Fisher would criticize a car dealer who gave him the best deal on a 'cash for clunkers' government give away.


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