RIDGWAY - Former Mayor Pat Willits appeared before Ridgway Town Council at its regular June meeting last Wednesday to ask for three things. Representing the newly formed Chautauqua Society (which leases and programs the New Sherbino Theater), Willits wanted permission to close that portion of Clinton Street fronting the theater for a street party on July 13, the planned Grand Opening of the re-energized space.
Second, he asked council’s approval to erect a tipi in Town Park for “six weeks or so, up through the Arts and Crafts Festival.” The tipi is being donated as a fund-raising raffle prize by Colorado Yurt Company, whose principles, Dan and Emma Kiger, started their business sewing tipis in the Sherbino Building in the 1970s.
And third was approval of the Sherbino’s application for a tavern liquor license, something Willits said the performance space needed to “survive.”
The first two passed in a breeze, unanimously. The third, not so easily.
The problem, said Laura Fike, who owns the building across the street, is “liquor out on the sidewalk.” The Sherbino license includes a request for a right-of-way permit from the town to serve guests outside, on the sidewalk, as well as in. “People get a little loud the more they drink,” Fike said.
Asked if noise was a problem from the Colorado Boy Brew Pub next door to the Sherbino (which serves beer outside at sidewalk tables), Fike said, no, they close at 9 p.m. “Maybe there should be a time limit [on outdoor service at the Sherbino]? I do work early Saturday mornings.”
Willits said he could “see the noise concern later at night,” and vowed, “We’re totally committed to trying to police that.”
Councilor Eric Johnson commented, “We did the exact same thing for the Colorado Boy. I have a problem putting different stipulations on a different property.”
Councilor Rich Durnan agreed: “My recommendation would be to approve with the acknowledgement of Laura’s noise complaint.”
And Councilor Rick Weaver concurred: “I’m not overly enthusiastic, but I’m inclined to agree fair is fair.” The vote to approve was unanimous.
COUNCILOR RICH DURNAN RESIGNS TO JOIN PEACE CORPS
In a move that surprised some in the room (but not Mayor John Clark, who presented a plaque of appreciation), Ridgway Town Councilman Rich Durnan announced at last Wednesday’s meeting that this would be his last council session; he was resigning at the end of the meeting. He said he was joining the Peace Corps and going to Cambodia. Mayor Clark thanked Durnan for his years of service and wished him well in Asia.
TOWN AGREES TO SOCCER FIELD GOCO GRANT
Ridgway Schools Superintendent Cheryl Gomez appeared before Town Council at its June meeting to ask for help in completing the school’s soccer field. She wasn’t asking for town money, she was asking the town stand as the applicant for a Great Outdoors Colorado grant, which needs to be filed in August.
Soccer mom Michelle Kyne told the council the school has committed $110,000 to the project, the Booster Club has added $3,500, and a recent fundraiser generated another $3,000. “We need $10,000 to complete the field itself,” she said, and added that more will be needed eventually to build a fence, acquire bleachers and a scoreboard.
Soccer mom Deb Wheeler said, “It will be the most beautiful soccer field in the world,” a benefit to the whole county, and a potential revenue generator, as the field could host soccer tournaments in the future.
Mayor Clark reiterated that the town was to be the grant applicant, and “if the grant is awarded the town would administer the grant through an intergovernmental agreement to the school district. They [the school] will do all the work in creating the grant application. There’s no question we’re all in favor.”
MUD FEST A FILTHY SUCCESS
Mud Festival organizer, and Ouray Chamber Resort Association representative Tamara Gulde briefed Ridgway’s town council last week on the surprising success of the inaugural event in April. “It was awesome,” she said. “That’s all I have to say. There’s a video on YouTube. We were expecting 250-500 people; we had 1,400 people. We did not expect to make money the first year; we made almost $3,000 profit. We’re going to two days next year. We’ll have a much bigger budget. We’re thinking of adding a mountain bike competition, and maybe a foot race. We’re looking at ways to put money into Fairgrounds improvements.”
“We need more bleachers,” added Fairgrounds Manager Susan Long. “I have asked the county to enter into an IGA to get more bleachers; we could only seat about 250 people this year. And it’s going to get bigger. We have great volunteer help, but we need a little more help with setup and teardown. And we will need help from the town of Ridgway with overflow parking.”
Apparently, playing in the mud is more fun even than anybody thought.