Oak Creek board wants parks agency | SteamboatToday.com

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Oak Creek board wants parks agency

Town Board prefers department instead of having regional district

— After hearing about the complicated legal proceedings that it would take to make an official parks and recreation district in South Routt County, trustees on the Oak Creek Town Board opted instead to look into creating a town department.

They made the decision at their Thursday meeting after hearing from Richard Sales, the associate director for the Colorado Center for Community De­­­­­velopment.

"It seemed like it would be a lot more hassle than it's worth, and we could get the same thing done with a department instead of a district," Mayor Nikki Knoebel said Friday.

The town would have had to go before a judge and put the issue to a vote by everybody who lives within the district if they wanted to create it as an independent governmental body. That also would have taken much of the control of events away from the town.

Trustee Chuck Wisecup said there didn't appear to be much interest from the surrounding areas, based on attendance at the meeting.

"That's not to say that there won't be some interested people from other parts of the area," he said. "It's going to kind of end up being a focus group to begin with."

The Town Board will begin to compile a list of projects that could benefit from a parks and recreation department and will decide how to proceed with parks master plans from there, Wisecup said.

One of the projects, the Oak Creek Community Garden, will begin in May, after the board gave its blessing. The garden organizers are slated to return in September with a more formal plan to be approved by the board.

COPS grant

After not winning a federal grant to hire three police officers during last year's funding cycle, the Town Board opted to reapply this year and request only one officer.

The Community Oriented Policing Services grant would pay for the officer or officers for three years, but it requires that the town pick up the cost after that time for at least one more year. Knoebel said that after discussing the issue with Lance Dunaway, the Oak Creek Police Department's sole officer, the town scaled back the request.

"We just think three was a little too many for the town, and we discussed this with Lance, and we're happy with the job he has done," she said. "He basically said he thinks Oak Creek could definitely use one more cop."

Wisecup, who also is a police commissioner, said he would refile the application for this year.