Moffat County veterans to begin flagpole project

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At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, a resolution for temporary restrictions of Moffat County Road 33N.

• Spoke with Bill Mack, of the road and bridge department, about the necessity of checking the rise of water levels around the county to ensure roads are not flooded.

• Heard an update from Erin Miller about the Moffat County Centennial Community Barbecue. The event is a free celebration of the history of Northwest Colorado and is scheduled to take place during the Moffat County Fair on Aug. 12. It will include a catered meal and live music by the John Wayne Band.

• Approved, 3-0, an extension of the Museum of Northwest Colorado’s mineral policy.

• Approved, 3-0, an intergovernmental agreement regarding the Juniper Mountain communications tower west of Craig. Control of the 800-megahertz tower, which is one of many enabling emergency communication throughout the region, will revert to the state.

Jeff Comstock, Moffat County natural resources director, said the transfer of the tower was supposed to happen in November 2012, following the end of a five-year contract that began in 2007. He said moving up the date will save the county the responsibility of additional maintenance on the tower.

The members of American Legion Post 62 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 will be bringing their patriotic spirit to Loudy-Simpson Park in the coming weeks.

The groups presented a proposal to erect a new flagpole at the park during the Moffat County Commission’s meeting Tuesday morning.

The plan is to place the pole near Loudy-Simpson’s picnic area.

American Legion Commander Mel Shockley said he plans to get a 40-foot pole from Axis Steel.

“We’ll need at least eight to 10 feet of it underground so that it can support the size flag that we want to get (so we’ll have) as much visibility as possible,” he said.

The American flag the groups plan to hoist upon the structure is six-feet-by-10-feet and will first fly during the second annual Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival, which will take place Aug. 19, 20 and 21 at Loudy-Simpson.

Ray Beck, festival chairman, also lent his voice to the proposal.

“The veterans have been great doing the flag ceremony for us, but there’s no flagpole out there and they’re always looking for projects,” Beck said.

Use of the flagpole will go beyond the Balloon Festival.

Shockley said he hopes people across all parts of the park complex — such as the soccer fields and near the Yampa River — will be able to look up at the flag and think about the men who died to defend it.

He hopes to include a commemorative plaque on the pole’s foundation and a spotlight that’s either electrically wired or solar-powered, providing the budget allows for such additions.

“Right now, we’re just in the planning stages,” he said.

Shockley said he and VFW Commander Mark Wick wanted to keep the project to a team of about 10 to 12 representatives from the American Legion and VFW.

“We generally count on a six-pack of guys from each group,” he said. “We want to take care of it ourselves because it’s our way to recognize Moffat County veterans.”

Funding for the flagpole will come directly from the American Legion and VFW.

The commissioners were unanimous in their support of the effort.

“It’s really commendable for the veterans here to see a need and step up,” commissioner Tom Gray said. “With organizations like these, it always turns out well.”

Gray said he would like to see the groups handle other such projects around the region whenever they are interested.

Shockley said in the near future he hopes to install a second full-size pole at Loudy-Simpson, replacing the small, telescoping pole that currently stands near the park’s baseball diamonds.

“That might be our project for next year,” he said.

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