Legion takes over clubhouse

Shadow Mountain pool set to re-open next week

Moffat County commissioners voted unanimously at a special meeting Thursday to lease Shadow Mountain Clubhouse to the American Legion for $1 a year.

The decision means the facility, which commissioners voted to close in December, will remain open to the public.

Commissioners voted in December to close the facility to save money in their 2006 budget.

The decision to close the facility brought outcry from residents who use the swimming pool and meeting rooms at Shadow Mountain, 1055 Moffat County Road 7.

After the commissioners voted to close Shadow Mountain, American Legion Post 62 in Craig offered to take over the facility, keep it open to the public and use it as its headquarters.

Under the lease agreement signed Thursday, the Legion will pay the county $1 a year for the next five years to keep the facility open.

The county will pay $33,000 in 2006 to cover utility costs at Shadow Mountain. The county will continue to pay a portion of the utility bill at the facility during the term of the lease, but the county's portion will decrease every year, going from $33,000 in 2006 to $8,000 in 2009 and nothing in 2010.

At Thursday's meeting, com--issioners and members of the American Legion described leasing the facility to the Legion as a "win-win situation."

Commissioner Saed Tayyara said the decision to close the facility was the right one considering the county's finances. But, Tayyara said, he was glad the American Legion stepped up to keep the facility open.

With the county paying utility costs this year, the American Legion will have to pay about $50,000 to keep the facility open in 2006.

Post Commander Mel Shock--ley said the Legion will have to be creative in finding funding sources to keep the facility open, but he thinks they can do it.

The Legion will rent out rooms at Shadow Mountain for parties more often than the county did and will use a portion of the lot for recreational vehicle storage, he said.

Before the lease was even signed Thursday, Shockley said he had booked three events at the facility.

The legion also will save money by having former Moffat County planning director Sue Graler, who is a member of the Legion's auxiliary club, conduct an operation plan of the facility. The plan will look at how the Legion can run the facility in the most-efficient way possible, Graler said.

To hire someone else to conduct the plan, the Legion would have had to pay. But Graler will conduct the plan for free as part of her work toward a master's degree.

Shockley said they hope to have the swimming pool at shadow Mountain open by next week.

People who use the Shadow Mountain pool applauded the Legion and the commissioners for keeping it open.

Bobbie Harper has been using the pool for 20 years.

Swimming makes her knees and hips feel a lot better, she said.

Since the pool closed in January, Harper said her knees and hips haven't felt so good.

Harper said she was excited to get back in the pool for her "swimnastics" classes.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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