The Dolores Town Board reviewed updates on the new playground plan, town infrastructure, and heard proposals for a new dog park and food-processing trailer.
The Town Board previously voted to spend up to $300,000 from reserves for playground equipment at Joe Rowell Park to replace aging equipment removed in 2017.
As part of the full build project, the equipment will be installed at the previous playground site of 9,500 square feet.
Two companies and volunteers will work on the project. Construction is planned for spring or summer 2020, and is expected to take about one week. It will resemble much of the playground’s former elements.
About one-third of the project, 2,500 square feet, will be organized by KaBoom!, which awarded the town a $70,000 grant for playground equipment for toddlers.
Play by Design has been recommended by the Dolores Parks Committee to build out the remaining 7,000 square feet for an estimated $200,000 to $300,000, depending on final designs and the amount of volunteer labor.
The town is applying for a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado to help cover some costs, and community fundraising is planned.
“Representatives from both companies have indicated a willingness to work on an integrated community build of the full playground,” said Kalin Grigg, chairman of the Dolores Parks Committee.
Design teams from both companies will be in Dolores to work on final designs and to help with volunteer recruitment and fundraising campaigns.
Clay and Megan Tallmadge of Pleasant Tree Farms in Dolores made a presentation for planting trees to enhance the natural element of the playground area and to provide shade. Both elements were high priorities in a playground survey. Trees and planting would be provided at a reduced price for the project, the Tallmadges said.
The Parks Committee also presented a proposal by resident Molly Wolfe of Mudpuppies Pet Grooming in Dolores, for a dog park at Joe Rowell Park. Other residents also have expressed interest in a dog park, Grigg said. The proposal includes a fenced dog park, about 2.4 acres west of the most westward baseball field. The proposal includes an initial town budget of $4,200 for the project.
The Town Board discussed spending $4,000 to have SGM Engineers develop a multiyear, phased plan for repair and replacement costs of aging portions of the town’s water and wastewater systems. The town would then proceed with acquiring grants, or possibly low-interest loans to finance the projects, with the idea that one would be done per year.
An earlier SGM master plan that analyzed the town’s infrastructure inventory recommended water and sewer rate increases of 2.5% annually for four years to service loans and to build reserves for upgrades and replacement costs.
The town signed a letter of support for the Dolores Chamber of Commerce in its request for continued full funding from the Montezuma County Lodgers Tax fund. The lodgers tax committee recently reported it planned to reduce contributions to the Mancos and Dolores chambers by 70% beginning in 2020.
Chamber director Susan Lisak said that without the annual $28,000 in funding from the lodgers tax, the Dolores Visitor’s Center would face closure.
“The Dolores Visitors Center is a vital way that our tourists use to get suggestions on what to do, where to eat and where to stay,” she said. “If if closed down, it would be detrimental for Dolores. Smaller towns have a harder time attracting visitors, and we do not wish for our town to just become a drive-thru on the way to Telluride or Cortez.”
The letter stated that Visitor Center staff members stay connected to the local businesses, direct people to events and tourist stops and advertise happenings in the area.
The board heard a proposal for a plan to bring in a mobile food-processing trailer into or near town. The Dolores Rotary Club is applying for a $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the unit and needs board support and a location for the trailer to operate. Farmers could use the self-contained trailer to process fruits and vegetables.
“We believe this unit will be an economic boost to our community,” said Lisak, a Rotary member. “It offers a way for gardeners and farmers to utilize food products to make value-added commodities that they can then sell for a larger profit than their produce alone.”
Mobile processors can be used to dehydrate or freeze foods and make jams, jellies and salsas.
The processor is USDA-certified and includes a power generator, food preparation space, refrigerator, freezer, office and tanks for gray water.
Farmers would use the mobile food trailer for free for the first 18 months of the grant, which also will cover the salary of a person to operate the unit, Lisak said. After that, there would be a user fee to help pay for a staff member to operate the service.
“This mobile food trailer can be hauled directly to orchards, farms or church parking lots,” Lisak said.
While there was interest in the idea, the board and staff recommended that more information is needed and zoning and health regulations would need to be reviewed. A potential location suggested is an empty lot the town owns outside town east of Colorado Highway 145. In a 3-4 vote, the board declined to support the grant. The plan will be revisited in November.