The Dolores-Norwood Road, the Phil’s World trails expansion and broadband internet were discussion topics at the Montezuma County Commission’s second quarterly Town Hall meeting in Dolores on Monday.
Commissioners started the evening meetings as a way to give people who cannot attend the commission’s regular meetings a way to participate in local government. The first meeting was in July in Cortez, and the meetings will rotate between Montezuma County communities.
About 15 people, including public officials from Cortez and Dolores, attended Monday’s meeting at Dolores Town Hall.
One man asked what it would take to get the Dolores-Norwood Road paved or graded regularly. Commissioner James Lambert said the county is still working on obtaining jurisdiction of it.
“It’s still a Forest Service road,” Lambert said. “We’re trying to get it.”
Commissioner Larry Don Suckla said the commission hired professors from Fort Lewis College to study the history of the road. They determined it was one of the oldest roads in southwest Colorado, and formerly was a trail used by the Ute tribe, Suckla said.
Suckla said they had talked about the road earlier in the day at their regular meeting. He said he had spoken with a San Juan National Forest official who estimated that some maintenance work would be done on the road next week.
Commissioner Keenan Ertel said even though the Forest Service collects fees for commercial travel on the Dolores-Norwood road, they don’t have to spend those fees maintaining that road.
“It’s a very irresponsible way they manage things, I feel,” Ertel said.
The county is doing most of the maintenance work on the road, Ertel said.
Suckla said the county is working to increase the amount of chip-and-seal roads. Seventeen miles of roads were resurfaced this year, and 14 miles are scheduled to be upgraded next year, he said.
Commissioners said the pursuit of a trail expansion at Phil’s World is ongoing. Bureau of Land Management Tres Rios Office Manager Connie Clementson will visit the commission Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. during the regular meeting to discuss the potential expansion.
The commissioners also offered an update on the county’s continuing broadband internet project. The question to opt-out of Senate Bill 152 in Montezuma County is on the November ballot, and if it’s approved, the county would have more options for pursuing fiber-optics broadband infrastructure.
Lambert reminded people that voting to opt-out of SB 152 is not voting for a new tax. Suckla said there are a multitude of options for internet that the county is considering. Ertel said the emphasis is on the “middle mile” of the infrastructure, bringing fiber lines closer to individual households across long distances.
Suckla said putting the infrastructure in place would make Montezuma County more desirable than other communities.
“It’s a game-changer if we get it,” he said.