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Moving in the right direction

It is time to clear the air over the recent perception this paper seems to have concerning the progress of Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District’s newly-elected board of directors.

Last year, I co-chaired the district organizing committee with Laurie Soliday. The previous year, I sat on the Mount Sopris Tree Farm Task Force committee, along with other concerned citizens from our tri-county, midvalley area. Royal Laybourn sat on that committee, as did the late Nick McGrath.

The assigned purpose of that group was to create a workable service plan to develop the tree farm property and establish a long overdue park and recreation district. Not only was that effort a success, but I’m happy to report that progress so far is right on track.



Having quietly monitored the initial steps of the board, it is clear they have been careful to follow the guidelines of the approved PUD and service plan. Barely six months in existence, it appears the directors are pro-active and functional as a whole.

Their backgrounds are rooted in our community: three are leaders in local business; three have coached in local youth leagues; and all are seriously passionate in forwarding the task that many before them put their souls into.




The recent murmur of dissent seems to originate in a group of five abandoned Forest Service buildings that exist within the tree farm parcel. The potential uses of these buildings are very appealing and were recognized as such by the tree farm task force.

However, from the beginning, Eagle County was noncommittal in prioritizing the upgrades needed to make these structures safe and code-compliant for public use, and after all, they do own them.

None of the service plan drafts that the task force formulated for the district organizing committee focused on the need to make immediate use of the Forest Service buildings.

The current board is smart to recognize their potential, but also to keep in perspective the more immediate development of trails, ball fields, parking facilities, etc. This is what visionaries like Nick McGrath wanted to see take shape once the district received voter approval.

I question Royal Laybourn’s persistence in making the currently unusable buildings an issue with this district in its infancy. The matter is completely out of their hands and should not be used to bog down more important progress.

Perhaps Royal would better serve his community by lobbying the BOCC of Eagle County with a well-thought-out plan to bring those buildings up to par. Laurie Soliday and her co-directors should be applauded for welcoming constructive input from the public and staying the course previously set down by the pillars of our midvalley community.

Curt Warnecke,

chairman Crown Mountain Park Committee