Rec budget includes amenities

Diving board, picnic tables, stereo equipment among additions

Neither Craig's canines nor its residents will have their own drinking fountain by the Lincoln Street tennis courts, but the Craig City Council approved other purchases for the Parks and Recreation Department that mean improvements to recreational choices.

In 2005, residents will see several replacement picnic tables at area parks, play on new equipment at Hier Park, jump from a new diving board at the pool and rock out to music played on a new stereo system at the pool.

Improvements at Hier Park are expected to cost $40,000, but Dave Pike, the Parks and Recreation director, is hoping the city's share will only be about $14,000 against another Great Outdoors Colorado grant.

The Craig City Council has given preliminary approval to a $939,730 Parks and Recreation Department operating budget for 2005, which is a 1.56 percent increase during 2004.

"There's not a lot there," Pike said. "It's pretty lean and mean."

The department's capital budget was set at $415,300 -- a large portion of which is expected to come from a Great Outdoors Colorado grant for improvements at Elkhead Reservoir.

The city is hoping to leverage $10,000 of general fund money against a $300,000 grant. That money will be added to the nearly $1 million Colorado State Parks plan to spend on amenities at the reservoir when construction begins on the expansion.

"We have a good opportunity to leverage a whole lot of money against GOCo funds and get a bigger bang for our buck," Pike said.

The city will own all improvements made at the reservoir.

Other cuts made by council members included $3,000 worth of new Christmas decorations and a $2,300 post-hole digger.

Some of Pike's requests never made it past department-level budget discussions.

He requested nearly $30,000 to build a new picnic shelter with restrooms at the south end of City Park and about $16,000 to build additional storage at the pool complex and Woodbury Park.

"Those were lower priority items," City Manager Jim Ferree said. "We had to find some places to cut," he said.

Other Parks and Recreation Department expenditures will remain at 2004 levels. There is still $4,000 appropriated for fireworks and $20,000 is budgeted for mosquito control.

The Parks and Recreation Department operational budget is the city's third largest, following the police department at $2,320,590 and Road and Bridge at $1,539,330.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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