From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 38 - 5/18/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Rec Board Deems TV "Recreation"
Rec Board tentatively approves $495K in new recreation funding - including $3,500 for TV
by Rob Shaul

The Sublette County Recreation Board tentatively approved $429,072 in new recreation funding at its monthly meeting on May 9. A new roof for the Pinedale Hockey Rink headlines the new funding.

In its proposal, the Pinedale Hockey Association asked the Rec Board to build a new roof forthe hockey rink at an estimated cost of $295,000. The Association says the current hockey rink is the finest outdoor skating rink in Wyoming, complete with lights, warming hut, boards, and a concrete foundation. The original rink was designed and built so a roof could be added later.

The Association says the roof is needed to shield the ice from getting buried in snow, and the melting effect of the sun. Clearing the rink of snow limits the number of hockey games that can be scheduled and reduces time for public skating. The Association says the roof would allow ice to be put down sooner and last through March. Finally, it would decrease maintenance costs for the rink by eliminating the need for snow removal and shading.

The Association received a cost estimate for the roof from a metal building contractor. The contractor estimated the cost of a 120' wide roof over the rink to be $295,411.

The Hockey Association says that if the county pays for the new roof over the rink, the Association will deed the rink and the property it sits on, to the county. Mr. Bell said there was some concern that the county shouldn't be spending this amount of money on a facility it didn't own.

The Rec Board discussed the proposal briefly during its May 9 meeting and approved funding the project on a 6-3 vote.

The Rec Board also voted to fund the Rural TV system in the southern part of the county for $3,500 and give $5,000 to the Pinedale Fine Arts Council. Before the vote on Rural TV, board member Marlenn Wise read the definition of "recreation" from two dictionaries. Both deemed recreation as refreshing both "body and mind." By a 7-2 vote, the Rec Board felt television qualified as recreation because is refreshed the mind and tentatively funded $3,500 for the service. "To me, I think it really qualifies," said board member Jim Meiring. The Board further used this justification to fund the Pinedale Fine Arts Council $5,000, but not without some discussion. "I like fine arts," says Bill Mecham, but I don't see it being a budget request I would traditionally expect to see for a recreation board." Marlenn Wise added his wish to see the funding earmarked to a specific PFAC project. "I think it's fully recreational," said Joe Kozeal.

What Was Denied

The Rec Board denied approximately $67,000 in the funding requests it received. It denied outright a request for $354.50 from the Mosquito Abatement District #2 to spray the ball fields north of Marbleton.

Also denied outright was a $22,400 request by the Pinedale Learning Center for playground equipment. The board did approve a similar $2,370 request for equipment from the Pinedale Preschool after an appeal from Rec Board member and Pinedale Preschool Board Member Mike Fenn (Mr. Fenn abstained from the vote). However, the board cited the $100,000 the Learning Center recently received from the County Commissioners as justification for denying that organization's request.

A $26,000 request to re-pave the Big Piney walking path behind the schools was reduced to just $10,000 by the board. At issue is the financial role of the Big Piney School District in maintaining the path. According to several members of the Rec Board, the School District No. 9 agreed to maintain the walking path if the county built it, but this hasn't happened. Rec Board Chairman Dave Bell is scheduled to meet with the Big Piney School Board later this month to discuss the issue.

The Board also reduced by $10,000 a $30,000 request to help construct a walking path between Big Piney and Marbleton. Last year the Rec Board put $20,000 towards the project, but several board members wanted more details on where the project stood. Some expressed concern that this path was really a transportation project, rather than a recreation project and there was some frustration that the town of Big Piney and Marbleton haven't put any money towards the project. In the end the Board, on a 9-0 vote, decided to fund $20,000 of the $30,000 request.

The Big Piney/Marbleton skateboard park project saw its requested funding cut in half. On a 6-3 vote, the Rec Board voted to put $10,000 towards the project, though $20,000 was requested. Unlike the skateboard park in Pinedale, the south county project is not being driven by the Sheriff's Department, and several of the Rec Board members felt the project lacked organization and direction. Others were concerned that the project, unlike the Pinedale skateboard park, has not received any private funding.

Finally, Rec Board member Marlenn Wise raised several questions about the Pinedale Pathways project, which would establish an 8' wide walking path between the Pinedale cemetery and the CCC Ponds near Fremont Lake. Mr. Wise said several landowners whose property the proposed pathway would run adjacent to or cross, opposed the project. He is also concerned that the pathway will cross a major deer and antelope migration route south of Fremont Lake. Finally, Mr. Wise questioned spending a total of $496,000 for an 8' path between Pinedale and Fremont Lake. He doubted that enough people would use the pathway to justify the cost.

Rec Board chairman and pathway supporter Dave Bell chose not to respond to Mr. Wise's questions on a point by point basis. He did say the Game & Fish had commented on the proposed path and didn't oppose it. He admitted that there were several more "hurdles to get over" before the path became a reality. The Rec Board approved $23,339 in this year's budget for the pathway on an 8-1 vote.

The Recreation Board will meet again May 30, 6 p.m. in the courthouse to finalize its budget. The Board of County Commissioners will make the final decision on this year's recreation spending in July.

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Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul