Dolores Town Board members meeting in their monthly workshop on Monday considered a proposed display track for the Galloping Goose railroad museum and discussed the Dolores River Festival and the need for playground maintenance at Joe Rowell Park.
The Galloping Goose Society wants to install a short section of track that it owns to display restored railroad cars behind the museum. The area is within the museum’s land lease with the town, but adding the track would require adjusting the sprinkler system for Flanders Park. The proposed track and rail car would also be above a waterline, which may need to be moved as well.
Joe Becker, of the Galloping Goose Historical Society, said the rail car display would help tell the area’s railroad history and attract volunteers for restoration projects. “We’re trying to bring in more local volunteers,” he said. “We’ve already had increased interest since we announced the proposal.”
Becker said there are many opportunities to obtain historical rail cars. One rail car that the museum is interested in restoring was used to haul ore from the Tomboy Mine near Telluride.
Another possibility is to seek a partnership with the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad to display their historic rail cars in Dolores on a rotating basis. The Galloping Goose No. 5 is shipped by flatbed truck to Chama, New Mexico, every summer and fall to run popular excursions on that railroad.
“After we drop off the Goose, it would be convenient to pick up one of their historic cars to display here,” Becker said.
Board members expressed support for the track display proposal, and the town will look into which waterlines may need to be moved and the costs.
“The rail car display will enhance the ability to interpret the important role of the railroad in this area. How to make it work is the question,” said board member Tracy Murphy, who is also a museum professional for the Bureau of Land Management.
“I’m all for it, and adding more signs directing people to our historic displays would help,” added board member Ginger McClellan-Swope.
Dolores Mayor Santiago Lopez pointed out that according to the lease, the museum would be responsible for costs of moving sprinkler lines and the waterline, if necessary.
On the topic of the recent Dolores River Festival, town board member James Biard said he did not think it benefited the town very much.
“A few stores may have benefited, but having the camping at the festival competes with businesses who offer that service,” he said. “I’d also like to see local restaurants used for catering for the event, and more alcohol enforcement.”
He did not attend the event but said he heard secondhand that people had sneaked in alcohol in coolers, which is not allowed.
Murphy said she attended the all-day event and reported that it went well and did not see a problem.
Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin reported earlier that there were no criminal problems because of the festival, which featured 10 bands and free raft rides and attracted 2,000 music fans. At the request of the town and sheriff, the playground remained accessible to the non-paying public during the river festival, and it was removed from the event’s liquor permit area.
Regarding the playground at Joe Rowell Park, Town Manager Lana Hancock said it needs maintenance and is at risk of being torn down unless money can be raised and volunteers step forward to help with restoration. The playground was built by the community in 2002, and was funded by a $100,000 Great Outdoors Colorado Grant.
“It is used a lot and is an icon of town,” said McClellan-Swope.
“It’s a nice structure, and it would be nice if we could save it,” added Lopez.