Council discusses partnership draft amendment

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At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 7-0, renewing the hotel and restaurant liquor license for Casa Loya, LLC.

• Approved, 7-0, renewing the hotel and restaurant liquor license for Fiesta Jalisco.

• Heard a monthly police report for September from Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta.

The Craig City Council discussed Tuesday a draft amendment to the Yampa River System Legacy Partnership that would expand the scope of the project and allow the partnership to seek additional federal funding.

If the draft amendment is signed by the city and other municipalities, the Legacy Partnership would be able to petition for grant money from the recently created America’s Great Outdoor initiative in addition to funding from Great Outdoors Colorado.

The nonbinding partnership was originally agreed upon in August 1997 by the City of Craig, Moffat County, City of Steamboat Springs, Routt County and nine other municipalities, state government agencies and representatives from the agricultural, business and recreational communities.

The partnership was created after GOCO announced in 1995 it would be distributing funding for Legacy projects in Colorado.

According to the original mission statement, the partnership was designed to:

“Protect and enhance the health of the Yampa River and its tributaries; adjacent agricultural lands and ecosystems; and the wildlife supported by these lands and waters. The YRSLP advances this mission through land conservation activities while providing recreational opportunities compatible with the natural environment of the Yampa Valley.”

In 1996, the Legacy Partnership received its first round of funding from GOCO for $6 million. To date, it has received more than $11 million in state grants.

Last year, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar petitioned President Barack Obama to create a national program based off the success of GOCO, which resulted in the creation of AGO.

Shortly after its inception, the Yampa River Basin was identified as one of three AGO priority areas in the state.

Although based off GOCO, AGO expanded its core concepts to include goals of reconnecting youth and young adults with the country’s natural outdoor environment.

Therefore, the draft amendment to the Legacy Partnership’s memorandum of understanding must be expanded to coincide with AGO’s core concepts to petition for federal funding through the program.

Those expansions include adding youth and outdoor jobs and youth and outdoor education representatives and one advocate each for public lands and the Yampa River.

In addition, the Legacy Partnership’s mission statement has been revised to be consistent with AGO’s initiative to include “a focus on connecting youth to the natural environment through jobs, environmental education and experiences.”

City of Craig Mayor Terry Carwile said there is no set date on when the amendment will be finalized and signed by members of the partnership.

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