Dillon Town Council will not spend loan on miniature golf
DILLON – The Town of Dillon will not build a miniature golf course with loan proceeds, the Town Council determined last week at a council retreat. Instead most of the remaining loan funds, about $630,000, will go toward improving the town’s signature venues: the marina and amphitheatre.The council will still need to vote on specific project proposals before the money is formally allocated.Marina improvements, the specifics of which will be determined upon the completion of the marina master plan later this summer, will receive between $400,000-$500,000. Amphitheatre enhancements, potentially including a new sound system, restrooms and green room, will receive around $130,000. If a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant does not come through next week, the council will also spend an estimated $100,000 building a playground, pavilion and restrooms in Marina Park. The loan proceeds must be spent on capital projects by March 2009.The decision came just more than a week after the Parks and Recreation Committee told the council putt-putt remained its top priority, despite a recent survey indicating little public support of a course.Councilmembers debated the appropriateness of the $320,000 business venture before making the determination.”I don’t think the town ought to be in the business of mini-golf,” said Councilmember Don Parsons.Mayor Pro Tem Suzanne Hebert expressed similar concern, adding that the council had spent quite a bit of time encouraging citizens to become involved in town politics and shouldn’t turn around and fund something citizens are unenthusiastic about.”I find it difficult to find the lowest priority from our citizen survey to work on first,” she said.Mayor Barbara Davis said she has received more negative than positive comments from residents about the potential golf course. “If the citizens were for it, I was for it, she said. “I can’t in good conscience vote for mini-golf at this time.” She added that the course could still be a good idea for the future when the town has more money and can find a good location to build it.Some councilmembers supported putt-putt funding. “It does an important thing,” Councilmember Judee Cathrall said. “It keeps people in town another couple of hours.” It would also be the only multi-generational activity in town and could pay for itself in as few as 5 1/2 years, she said.Council members also presented their wish lists for loan spending, which included undergrounding a specific set of power lines, improving parking on La Bonte Street and replacing some outdated equipment. Although the council decided to allocate the loan proceeds to marina and amphitheatre improvements instead, the council and staff will look into other funding possibilities for the additional items.Some of the $1 million loan has already been allocated to the recreation path and the west entrance landmark project.Town Manager Devin Granbery said he was pleased with the outcome of the council retreat.”This is one of the hardest things to do,” he said, referring to funding and policy prioritization. “This is the epitome of local government.”Town council discusses policy priorities at retreatThe Dillon Town Council defined six broad public policy goals for the upcoming year during a council retreat Thursday.In addition to marina improvement, economic revitalization of the Town Center is one of the council’s top priorities, Town Manager Devin Granbery said. The economic development committee will meet with the council in upcoming weeks to present recommendations for action. Creating housing policies that will bring more year-round residents to the Town Center will likely play into the discussion.The council also hopes to collaborate with other towns, groups and the county on several ongoing and upcoming projects, including drafting attainable housing policies and participating in a countywide sustainable building code pilot program. The council plans to continue working with other groups on the Old Dillon Reservoir expansion and the Straight Creek clean-up project.In addition, the council plans to explore the possibility of acquisitions of some Denver Water Board land parcels.Julia Connors can be reached at (970) 668-4620.
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