September 4, 2009

McGraw Park grant submitted
Application to be answered by January

By Mike Potter
Staff Writer

Park County submitted a grant application on Aug. 26 to Great Outdoors Colorado that would pay for improvements for McGraw Park in downtown Bailey. Any money could be awarded in January

The application seeks $149,000 to help fund improvements that would cost an estimated $231,000, including the creation of a fishing and picnic area, renovation of the bridge there, a kayak launch, a hiking trail and public restrooms.

GOCO money is raised through the Colorado State Lottery, and the money is used to benefit outdoor facilities such as hiking trails, open spaces and parks.

The grant application is a combined effort between Park County, the Park County Historical. Society, which owns McGraw Park, and Destination Bailey, a group whose goal is to improve and promote Bailey as a destination spot.

Donations

While the grant would pay for a large chunk of the improvements planned for the park, it wouldn’t cover all of them.

Destination Bailey has been able to secure $56,000 in donations of cash and labor, said Susan Lambert, president of Destination Bailey, in an email.

She said if things go well, the park improvements could be done next summer.

“If we really get organized, we may be able to hold the

grand opening for the improvements on July Fourth next year, but we should be able to hit Labor Day at the latest,” she said in the e-mail.

Most of the private donations came in the $25 to $50

range, she said, and one individual gave $750.

Agreement entered into

Arthur Hall, president of the Park County Historical Society, said the county entered into a 25-year service agreement with the historical society for the park on Aug. 27, the day after the application was submitted.

Hall said the agreement between the historical society and the county was that the historical society wouldn’t sell or trade the land and maintain the upkeep of the property.

Hall said GOCO accepted the grant application on the condition that the agreement, which calls for the historical society to maintain the park, would soon be in place. The

agreement was necessary because only governmental entities can apply for GOCO grants.

In addition to the agreement, the historical society will soon begin the process of rezoning.

Hall said he is aiming to have the rezoning completed by January, when GOCO might award the grant.

“They want to have it by January before they award that grant, and I think we can do that,” Hall said. “From the way I’m looking at it, I don’t see any problems with it.”

It isn’t necessary that the rezoning be complete by the time the money could be awarded, but Hall wanted some progress made before the award.

The rezoning would change the 20-acre parcel across the river from residential to commercial zoning to match two other parcels that make up McGraw Park.

Once the parcels’ zoning matches, Hall said, they would combine all of them into one lot.

He wanted to begin the rezoning process as early as the second week in September, he said.

Hall said he is optimistic of the chances of the grant being awarded for McGraw Park.