OURAY – This summer, hikers heading up the short trail to Cascade Falls will be greeted by a new memorial shelter, honoring the boundless energy and efforts of members of the Ouray Trail Group.
At the Monday, March 18 meeting, Ouray City Council unanimously approved a request from the Ouray Trail Group to allow the memorial shelter to be built on city-owned land near the parking area for Cascade Falls. The area was selected partly because it is a key access point for OTG’s pièce de résistance, the Ouray Perimeter Trail. This five-mile trail system, accessed by up to 15,000 hikers last year, links existing trails with newly built ones to create a loop around Ouray, providing views of the town and surrounding peaks. It is still a work in progress, with a small portion of the trail system on the west side of town still to be completed.
OTG member Steve Caldwell told council that his organization has been searching for some time for a systematic way to honor trail group participants and former members in maintaining the Perimeter Trail and a whopping 83 additional trails in the immediate area, and the proposed gazebo seemed like the perfect solution.
“The Ouray Trail Group will dedicate the memorial to past, present and future hikers of the San Juan Mountains, encouraging further safe and enjoyable adventures here in the Ouray area,” Caldwell said.
The 12-foot by 14-foot shelter, to be constructed by Mike Cammack, will be similar in concept to the Memorial Gazebo at the Ouray Ice Park, but more compatible with the design of the new information kiosk near the Hot Springs Pool (also constructed by Cammack). Construction will be funded by $5,200 in donations made to the Ouray Trail Group in recent years, with in-kind support valued at a little over $2,000 coming from the City of Ouray’s Public Works Department to prepare the building site.
OTG has pledged to provide extended maintenance of the shelter, which Caldwell hopes will be completed by Memorial Day.
“The OTG has an excellent working relationship with the City of Ouray and contributes
significantly to assisting the City in maintaining trails around the community,” City Administrator Patrick Rondinelli noted in a memo. “Within the city limits a few examples include development of the Perimeter Trail, improvements at Cascade Falls, fence work along the river walk in the North Ouray Corridor, and many projects on the trails within Box Cañon Park. This shelter will be a great asset for the community and our system of hiking trails.”
COUNCIL ADOPTS GOALS FOR 2013
After discussing the matter extensively during a retreat earlier this month, council on Monday unanimously adopted the following goals for 2013:
. Complete capital improvements to the Ouray Hot Springs Pool and bathhouse facility to enhance the visitor’s experience with modern amenities, consistent water temperatures, safety, efficient filtration, improved lighting, and energy efficiency;
. Implement improvements to the city’s water distribution system and wastewater collection system to improve operational and energy efficiency as well as develop maintenance programs to ensure effective management of the systems;
• Utilize information from the energy audit conducted in 2012 to identify improvements to the City Hall/Community Center buildings and facilities focused on energy efficiency in order to reduce overall operational costs;
• Evaluate the City’s water resources and seek ways to conserve, enhance, and protect them.
Additional areas council identified as priorities included gravel augmentation and improved maintenance of existing park facilities.
A recent assessment of the Ouray Police Department conducted by the consulting firm KRW Associates resulted in a number of recommendations, presented to council Monday by KRW’s Dr. Fred Rainguet. Key recommendations included:
- Switching to a new schedule which will allow occasional overlapping days during which all officers are on duty at the same time, providing more opportunities for group training and alternative patrol strategies;
- Hiring a half-time dedicated administrative assistant who in addition to front desk duties could maintain and implement record management, monitor evidence in the property room and function as community service officer or public safety technician;
- Implementing a summer intern program to maintain an extra presence on Main Street during the busy high season;
- Adopting new patrol strategies, including foot patrol and bicycle patrol, especially during the summer season.
NEW FIRE CHIEF...VINEGAR HILL CLOSED...FEE WAIVER…
Council confirmed the appointment of Trevor Latta as the new chief of the Ouray Volunteer Fire Department. Latta, the proprietor of the Artisan Bakery and a veteran member of the OVFD, replaces former fire chief Adam Kunz, who has served in that position since 2005. Kunz will remain an officer within the organization. … With warming temperatures and rapidly melting snow, sledding on “Vinegar Hill” has now shut down for the season and the road is once again open to traffic. The town-operated Lee’s Ski Hill is also now officially closed for the season. The city’s annual Uncompahgre River channel cleaning starts next week. ... Council heard a request from the Ouray School’s Gifted and Talented Coordinator Taylor Chase to waive the fee for use of the Ouray Community Center for an upcoming Battle of the Books competition which will be attended by students from throughout the area. Swift was accompanied by three young GT students who explained what the competition entails. Council did not make a decision on the matter, and agreed to ask Swift to provide a written request for consideration, per its new policy regarding requests to waive fees, which was adopted that night.