Council, VFW reopen lease talks on Craig City Park

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In other action ...

At its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 4-0, setting a public hearing for Feb. 28 to consider renewal of a conditional use permit for a 500-gallon propane station at 124 W. Fourth St., requested by B&B Welders.

• Awarded, 4-0, bids for 2012 chemicals from General Chemicals, LLC, Thatcher Chemical and Summit Labs.

• Approved, 4-0, Resolution No. 3 (2012) amending Article 14.2J of the City of Craig personnel policies manual.

• Heard month-end water and wastewater reports for December 2011.

— Council members Ray Beck, Joe Bird and Don Jones were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Craig City Council members sat down Tuesday with representatives from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 to resume lease negotiations concerning Craig City Park.

As part of a list of seven possible deals, the VFW suggested the city begin paying $2,500 rent per month to ensure continued public access to the park.

After the meeting, Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said money has never changed hands between the two entities in the form of rent in more than 60 years.

Mark Wick, former VFW post commander, served as VFW spokesman at the meeting. Current commander David Walters, and VFW members Jim Meineke, Guy Bradshaw and Johnny Garcia joined him.

The VFW pitched the monthly payment idea because its membership decided during a recent meeting to no longer accept free water, sewer and trash services from the city.

“The days of free water and sewer are over,” Wick said. “From now on, we pay our own way, but we need cash to continue services for our members, to pay for basic maintenance to our building, and we believe that park is worth something.”

Council members were in general agreement the $2,500 price tag is high, but were mixed as to whether it would be appropriate to allocate taxpayer money toward rent regardless of the amount.

After discussion, council member Gene Bilodeau conceded that he and the rest of the council were not expecting the VFW to ask for monthly compensation and requested additional time to consider the proposal.

The two parties agreed to table the issue until after Feb. 14, the date of the next regularly scheduled council meeting.

Wick outlined the VFW’s remaining lease considerations:

• The park will be named “Veteran’s Memorial Park” and proper signage will be installed by the city within 30 days of the new lease.

• The city will maintain the grounds, cut and maintain the grass, and water the grass and plants.

• The city will install and maintain public restrooms.

• The park will not be used as a campground or RV park. No overnight parking will be allowed.

• When the VFW begins construction of the Medal of Honor Memorial, the city will assist with construction.

• Personal and property liability will be the concern of the city.

After the meeting, VFW members said they were pleased with progress made on the park.

“We fly under the radar and we don’t need a pat on the back,” Wick said. “All of the money we raise from our activities go right back into this community and that’s the way it should be, but you gotta open the door before you can walk through it.”

Council members were also encouraged by the meeting’s outcome.

“It went pretty smooth,” council member Byron Willems said. “Everything they asked for is pretty much what we have done in the past. We really just have one item to sort out.”

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Comments

xrsareus 2 years, 11 months ago

Sounds like the VFW is trying to bully the city in my opinion. I would like to know how much the city spends now to maintain the property under lease discussion. If I was in city councils shoes, I would let the VFW have their property, let them mow, water, plow snow and pick up trash and maintain the property to the standards the park is at now. Then see if the VFW wants to talk about a appropriate amount to lease the property for. Nobody is going to do the job the city does to make the park what it is. Still think the ego's of both sides are still showing, nobody want to be the perceived loser on this deal.

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Andrew Russo 2 years, 11 months ago

"Still think the ego's of both sides are still showing, nobody want to be the perceived loser on this deal."

That's what losers do....

"Council members were in general agreement the $2,500 price tag is high, but were mixed as to whether it would be appropriate to allocate taxpayer money toward rent regardless of the amount."

It would be most inappropriate, this VFW doesn't seem all that civic minded.

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David Moore 2 years, 11 months ago

I agree with the bullying thing, this is just a dig, not only to the council and taxpayers, but to the community who uses the park. $2500 a month, you have to be kidding. That whole chunk of property is only worth one, maybe two years rent on the market, lets be realistic here. I guess If this is what it has really come to, I say let them have their land, move all events to other locations and work toward building a new "city" park somewhere else. Even though it may not be as central, there is land all over town that could be turned into the new "city" park. Why can't they just stick to the old plan, city gives free water, sewer, trash, and park maintenance, VFW gives the park for all of the community to enjoy, is it that complex? Don't get me wrong here, I have the utmost respect for our vets and the sacrifices they have given to keep us all free, but to do something like this is just unacceptable and as a taxpayer, I do not support this idea. Think of something else please, within reason.

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daily 2 years, 11 months ago

Isnt this what a negotiation is? You offer a position and i offer mine, oh and calling veterans of foreign wars uncivil is a little bit ridiculous. They risked their lives for you.

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David Moore 2 years, 11 months ago

"Isnt this what a negotiation is? You offer a position and i offer mine, oh and calling veterans of foreign wars uncivil is a little bit ridiculous. They risked their lives for you."

I think we all realize this, and I also think we have a vet or two commenting on this thread as well, the respect for their sacrifices is fairly well known and acknowledged. What we are saying, as taxpayers, is that this offer is somewhat outlandish and unreasonable. I did not see anything about them being uncivil on this thread, there was a comment about them not being civic minded...that has nothing to do with being civil, or not.

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daily 2 years, 11 months ago

If defending your country with your life is not being civic minded Im not sure what is. Is being civic minded include allowing the Marcia Car to be placed on your property? Has the city made a counter offer?

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Colette Erickson 2 years, 11 months ago

Agreed, "ranger" and David. The VFW does not seem to have thought this through in any logical manner, nor to be very reasonable in their position.

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cag81625 2 years, 11 months ago

Just to clarify, Ranger, the property that the VFW owns is south of the portion of the park containing the wave pool and most of the playground improvements. The northern part is city property, at least according to the plat I'm looking at. Otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly that the VFW needs to reexamine their position in this matter.

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TiredofSSDD 2 years, 11 months ago

Does the City or County still pay for utilities at the Boys and Girls Club? In addition, who pays for the rent for the Marcia Car being on the VFW's property? Moreover, how much does it cost the City to put on the Whittle of the Woods, including all the sunk costs of employees working on the project? I think everyone can work this out, but the VFW owns the property, and I think with some community efforts, they can make this work for everyone with the least amount of mud slinging occurring.

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Ray Cartwright 2 years, 11 months ago

I have only dealt with the VFW on a couple of occasions but; has anyone out there tried to rent the upstairs facility from the VFW. If you have then you will know that the VFW has some outlandish demands in order to use it and they want to charge an enormous amount of money also. It doesn't suprise me that they would go into these negotiaions with over the top demands.

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unknown69 2 years, 11 months ago

Too bad the ORIGINAL Deed for the property cannot be located...........I heard that if the VFW cannot maintain the property,that it automatically goes back to the city.....but like I said that is what I heard.....maybe someone should look for that deed. If they are having problems maintaining the club house building, what makes them think they are going to maintain the park.....if the city doesn't do for them.

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