CNCC opts out of fire district land transfer
“We’re just a handful of people here, but you go out on the street and the people that really are against it are more than just a handful.”
— Jim Simos, a Craig resident, speaking about opposition to a land transfer for a new fire training facility near The Memorial Hospital and Colorado Northwestern Community College
A resolution granting land for a $1.5 million fire training facility in Craig met an obstacle Thursday night during the Colorado Northwestern Community College Board meeting.
A motion was made to accept the resolution with the Craig Rural Fire Protection District.
However, all four college board members present — Richard Haslem, Mike Anson, Rick Johnson and chairman Jim Loughran — declined to second the motion.
CNCC Board member Earlene Sauer was out of the area and did not vote.
Haslem said a "significant number of people” contacted him in the weeks leading up to Thursday’s meeting.
“And 100 percent of the people that contacted me did not want us to do this,” he said.
For that reason, “I cannot nor will I support the resolution to transfer the land, on a personal basis,” he said.
About 15 local residents attended the college board meeting to voice opposition to the proposed transfer.
“I’m not against the facility,” longtime local resident Pete Pleasant said. “I’m against the location proposed for the facility.”
Pam Foster echoed his words.
She said she's not opposed to a fire training center in Craig, but “I do think there are much better locations for it,” she said.
She argued that the nearly 15-acre parcel south of The Memorial Hospital could be used for purposes more suited to the surroundings.
“I would very much like to see you vote no on this tonight,” Foster said. “I do think there are a lot of other locations within Moffat County where the burn tower and the fire house could go and still be very appropriate.”
Craig resident Jim Simos joined in speaking against the training center, which is the fire district's proposed first phase of a second station.
“We’re just a handful of people here, but you go out on the street and the people that really are against it are more than just a handful," Simos said.
None of the attendees at the meeting spoke in favor of the project.
“We were under the assumption this was not going to be a debate, so we didn’t bring supporters,” said Byron Willems, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board president. “We didn’t want to make a circus out of this, so we didn’t ask people to come and support this project.”
CNCC Board Chairman Jim Loughran was torn on the issue, he said, before the resolution came up for a motion and second.
Having a fire training facility close to the college could have led to the creation of a fire training program at CNCC, thereby giving local students an incentive to remain in Craig after high school, he said.
However, “We do want to listen to the public, and we think your input is important, and we want you to know that,” he said.