July 24, 2009

Destination: Bailey! seeks grant for McGraw Park

Mike Potter
Staff Writer

Destination: Bailey meEts at McGraw park Park County Tourism and Community Development Director Gary Nichols (left) and Destination: Bailey! member Wayne Lambert listen at a meeting at McGraw Park in Bailey to discuss applying for a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado to use for improvements for the park. (Photo by Mike Potter/The Flume)

Destination: Bailey! is planing to submit a grant to Great Outdoors Colorado to obtain funding to continue work called for in a 2001 plan for McGraw Park in downtown Bailey, and make other improvements.

GOCO grants are funded through Colorado Lottery proceeds.

The grant could be up to $200,000 for work that would include bridge remodeling and clearing an area on the opposite side of the river as the park for a picnic area and fishing spot.

Susan Lambert, president of the Destination: Bailey! board of directors, said there is also a possibility of repairing hiking trails on the other side of the North Fork of the South Platte River from the park. The park had trails at one time, but were not maintained and were lost to vegetation regrowth.

McGraw Park is owned by the Park County Historical Society. Included in the park is 18-acres of property on the opposite side of the river from the park, which is accessed by the Keystone Bridge.

"We walked it last weekend, and we didn't know where we were going," she said.

The group is in the middle of getting estimates on how much the work would cost, but when the 2001 plan was commissioned, the estimated cost was $41,000.

At the time, there was only enough money to raise a flag pole and preserve some historic buildings.

But more could be done to improve the park and make it more attractive to visitors.

Linda Henley, vice president of the Destination: Bailey! board of directors, said the group believes the total cost today of completing the plans for the park would be around $61,000.

The grant must be submitted by Aug. 26, and Destination: Bailey! must come up with matching funds of 10 percent of the total amount it is seeking.

Park County Tourism and Community Development Director Gary Nichols said the county has access to $5,000 in grant money to put an informational kiosk at McGraw Park.

At a July 20 meeting at McGraw Park, Nichols told Destination: Bailey! organizers that the county would have to apply for the GOCO grant on behalf of Destination: Bailey!

He said GOCO would have a better chance of awarding the grant for McGraw Park if a number of groups partnered together, such as the Platte Canyon Area Chamber of Commerce, the Park County Historical Society, and local businesses.

He said the county commissioners would have to make a formal decision to enter into an agreement with Destination: Bailey! to submit the grant, and it would also have to work on details surrounding the maintenance of the park once the improvements are complete.

He said if the county wouldn't be responsible for maintenance, the commissioners were more likely to approve the partnership.

Lambert said she believed that some of the money obtained through the GOCO grant could be used for facility maintenance.

Destination: Bailey! has plans to turn the historic park into an attraction that would give travelers passing through Bailey a place to rest, and also offer something to Bailey-area residents.

Park County Office of Historic Preservation Director Linda Balough asked at the meeting what possible features could be added to the park that would make it more inviting to Park County residents.

Attendees decided that public restroom facilities and better signage would be a good start to get people to stop by the park.

Once visitors are attracted, information could be displayed about the kinds of businesses that are in the Bailey area and what the town has to offer.

"There is an opportunity here, if you do this strategically, this could be a focal point [of the community]," Nichols said.



The July 24 Flume article about McGraw Park in downtown Bailey and the Destination Bailey arm of the Platte Canyon chamber, while noting that the park is owned by the Park County Historical Society, failed to indicate the important role the historical society would play in obtaining any grant from Great Outdoors Colorado for the park. The Park County Historical Society has been in conversations with Destination Bailey about improvements to the park.