Steamboat Springs 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.”