Jude Schuenemeyer of the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project proposed planting 70-100 fruit trees in the empty field east of the playground.
He said it would fit well with Dolores’ orchard history, and each tree would be labeled with information regarding its local origin and variety.
“Orchards are culturally relevant and generational,” he said, “In five to 10 years, they will produce fruit for the community.”
The orchard would have heritage Montezuma Valley trees and be used to promote agricultural tourism. Tree origin would be tied to maps allowing visitors to tour the region’s agricultural history.
“The town’s residents could decide what to do with the fruit, from hosting U-picks to making cider for festivals,” Schuenemeyer said.
MORP would plant and help maintain the orchard, and a water tap would be installed to provide drip irrigation.
The town board and staff were agreeable to the idea, and staff was directed to draw up an agreement for final board consideration.
“I think it would be good for the community and improve that part of the park,” said town manager Lana Hancock.
“I’m all for more trees,” added board trustee Ginger McClellan-Swope.
Attorney Mike Green advised that the board consider an ordinance or resolution for the project, because it would give the orchard more permanent status.
The rare Colorado orange apple would be one of the varieties that would be planted, Schuenemeyer said.
In other town news:
Attorney Mike Green addressed false rumors that a large settlement had been paid to the Rio Grande Hotel as a result of a 2016 court decision in the hotel’s favor.He said the town paid $344 in court fees as a result of the decision, but nothing more.
In July, District Court Judge Todd Plewe ruled that the town erred in its action to close down the hotel in March 2015. The ruling said the notice of code violations was inadequate, therefore reversing an earlier town decision to temporarily close the hotel.
The board commented that recent work on the hotel’s roof and exterior is impressive.
“What she has done looks really nice, and is a great addition to downtown,” said Dolores Mayor Santiago Lopez.
Board Trustee Robert Dobry announced his resignation from the town board and planning and zoning board because he bought a house outside of town limits.“It’s been an honor to serve,” Dobry said.
A notice of the town board vacancy will be placed in the newspaper. The board will vote on a candidate, who will serve until the next election in April 2018. He or she will then have to run for the open seat.
Sheriff Steven Nowlin introduced the newest members of the sheriff department: three horses adopted for the new countywide mounted patrol program.The mustangs were captured from the wild, then sent to a training facility in Cañon City run by inmates of Centennial Prison.
“The horses are very friendly, gentle and healthy,” Nowlin said.
They are receiving training in Montrose by mounted patrol specialist Ted Holland, and will arrive in Montezuma County for service later in the year.
Dolores donated stalls to hold the horses when off duty, and a permanent stable and training ground has been built at the sheriff’s main office in Cortez.
The town learned it was not awarded a $24,000 planning grant from Great Outdoors Colorado to study whether a new track and football field for the school and general public is plausible at Joe Rowell Park.firstname.lastname@example.org