Buses closer to home

Park-and-Ride facility moves a step toward reality

The collaboration between Craig and Steamboat Springs to find a home for the buses running daily routes between the two towns cleared another hurdle.

A deal nearly three years in the making is nearly complete after the Moffat County commishoners accepted wording in a contract to sell the property, which once housed the county Road and Bridge shop at 616 E. Victory Way.

It now goes before the Steamboat Springs City Council to gain final approval.

Steamboat Springs Transit plans to use the site for a Park-and-Ride facility, where riders can leave their cars and commute to Steamboat Springs.

Currently, riders leave their vehicles at various locations around Craig to catch the bus at one of 12 stops in town.

Commissioners first agreed to sell the shop and the 1.4 acres it sits on to Steamboat Transit in September 2005 for $220,000.

Much of the delay in closing the deal was caused by the discovery of diesel fuel contamination in soil at the old county shop location after an environmental study in December 2005.

County commissioners agreed to remove the contaminated soil at the site, but had problems with the contract language that held Moffat County liable for all future contaminations discovered at the site.

New language in the contract has Moffat County accepting responsibility for contamination at the site for five years following closing on the property.

George Krawzoff with Steamboat Transit was in Craig last week showing off new buses recently purchased to make the 42-mile drive between the two towns.

"This new bus is a heavy-duty model that will carry 57 people each way during its 20-year lifespan," he told Craig City Council. "The old Bluebird buses were a medium-duty bus that was a cold ride down the highway."

Four buses were purchased at a cost of $1.6 million. They will depart Craig bus stops three times each morning, and return from Steamboat Springs three times each evening.

Cost to riders is $5 each one-way trip, or they can purchase a punch pass that will lower the per-trip cost to $3.50.

The dozen stops in Craig allow riders to board the bus from various locations around town, but the creation of a Park-and-Ride facility could eliminate parking problems at some of those sites.

Krawzoff has called the Park-and-Ride site an ideal location for such a facility, and plans call for 50 parking spaces at the heated facility. Buses will spend the evening at the Craig facility instead of being driven down-valley to begin their routes.

The location next to the east Kum & Go will allow passengers the opportunity to purchase coffee or newspapers before boarding the bus, and parking at the facility will eliminate the ride around Craig for many bus passengers.

Krawzoff said Steamboat Transit has acquired $1.4 million in grants to construct the Park-and-Ride facility, and that money must be used in 2007 or the grants will expire.

Commissioners also:

  • Signed monthly Treasurer's reports
  • Signed Propane Gas Service Agreement for Dinosaur Visitor's Center
  • Signed letter to Governor Ritter recommending Tom Sharp for reappointment to the Water Conservation Board
  • Received monthly report from Road & Bridge Department -- Bill Mack
  • Signed House Rental Agreements for county houses at Great Divide & Vermillion
  • Signed Charchalis Sand & Gravel lease
  • Received monthly report from Social Services -- Marie Peer
  • Held public hearing regarding the Community Services Block Grant for social services
  • Approved changes in Adult Protection Team membership
  • Signed the state version of the Social Services budget, which was approved in December 2006
  • Amended a contract with The Lighthouse Center for Counseling and Play Therapy
  • Met with elected officials
  • Met with Sheriff Tim Jantz
  • Approved personnel requisitions for Sheriff's Office sergeant, Treasurer's office temporary help and two part-time Parks and Recreation employees
  • Approved budget supplementals for projects not completed in 2006
  • Received a report from Tom Grieve with Little Snake River Water Conservancy District

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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