Editorial: Downtown’s dirt lot dilemma

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Editorial board members:

• Al Cashion

— Community representative

• Bryce Jacobson

— Newspaper representative

• Bridget Manley

— Newspaper representative

• Chris Nichols

— Community representative

• Jeff Pleasant

— Community representative

• Joshua Roberts

— Newspaper representative

Our View

Our view: A mild winter along with nice weather this week has turned thoughts to spring for the editorial board. Specifically, making our fair Craig and Moffat County look better. An area to improve? Eyesores that are vacant lots around town, one of them more so than others.

Maybe this week’s unbelievably beautiful weather is winter’s eviction, or perhaps — the more likely scenario — it’s an aberration to tease us before final gasps of storms blow in and bury us in snow for another few weeks.

Either way, it has the editorial board, and most likely many Craig and Moffat County residents, thinking about long days of sunshine and warm temperatures.

Spring is on the way, thankfully, which means the community needs to start thinking beautification so our fair Craig and Moffat County’s aesthetics match its true beauty.

To the editorial board, there are some obvious areas in the community that need rehabilitation. The most blighted areas, board members contend, are vacant lots around town.

The ugliest and most glaring of these sits in downtown Craig, directly north of the Craig Daily Press.

The lot, which is in a prime location, could easily be transformed from the uneven dirt patch it currently is to a much-needed parking lot, or park space similar to Alice Pleasant up the street.

Overtures have been made in the past to the lot’s owner, but they have been rebuffed, or been answered with outrageous asking prices.

Fair enough.

But, the lot simply can no longer be allowed to sit the way it is. If the owner is intent on keeping the property, improvements have to be made.

If not, as is more likely, the city needs to step in and claim the lot for the betterment of the community overall and downtown specifically.

In general, the editorial board doesn’t support eminent domain. In most cases, we believe the government shouldn’t intrude on the rights of a private property owner.

But, the vacant lot downtown has to be viewed as an exception.

The lot is a dirt patch and an eyesore.

It’s a blight on downtown, adversely impacting businesses and property values, is barely maintained if at all, and accounts for important space that could be of better use for the community throughout the year.

The owner has been given numerous opportunities over the years to do something with the property or remedy the situation in some manner. Nothing has been done.

If the owner is content with the dirt patch, the community shouldn’t be, and silence and inaction should no longer be accepted.

The time for patience has passed and city officials need to step in.

There’s no sense in allowing this dirt lot to remain the blister on downtown it’s become.

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Comments

George Robertson 2 years, 9 months ago

Would you people please STOP. Craig is truely one of Colorados assets, and is quite plesant to drive through. According to many of your "editorials" it's the most blighted spot on earth. The best improvement for Craig would be to eliminate the weekly negativity in it's local paper by disbanding this so called "Editorial Board"

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cory5611 2 years, 9 months ago

And it cost to much for people to bulid with in city limits maybe if the did not make you spend so munch on land scaping more people would build here.

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kp81625 2 years, 9 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong here: As a property owner, if I own a lot, as long as I am not bending or breaking the rules or zoning, then I can do or not do whatever I want to with my property. That's my decision to make...so if I am correct, then the owner of this lot, according to the editorial, is not breaking any rules or zoning. He doesn't have to do anything with this lot. If you don't like it, then give him a fair market value offer and see what he has to say about it.

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lonelyone 2 years, 9 months ago

What makes this dirt lot any worse than the one to the west of J.W. Snacks or the one where the high country mall use to be? None of them are pretty to look at, but they aren't hurting our town THAT much. In fact they are better to look at then the empty partly burned down motel on North Yampa!!
I do agree tho that it would be nice of the owner to allow parking on it again, since parking down town can get a bit tight at times and the extra space would be nice to have.

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colorado_22 2 years, 9 months ago

YES YES YES!! Best editorial I have seen in a while, and I completely agree. To lonelyone, I think the reason it is different than the lot next to J.W. Snacks because that lot is smoothed over and has gravel; it is a legitimate parking space which many people utilize on a regular basis. I agree with the editorial; that dirt space is in a prime part of our town, it's in the historic downtown area and could be used for SOMEthing, whether that be parking, a grassy spot to relax etc. I just feel like the owner is basically just being stubborn... why wouldn't you want to use your space for the good of the community? There are a few businesses right there that I visit frequently: Blush Salon and Carelli's, as well as the Popular Bar. I can tell you that it is very difficult to find parking on the street along Yampa and I am always having to park in the Mather's parking lot. Not a big deal whatsoever, but the point is that there is a dirt lot right there that I COULD park in, if there weren't holes large enough to swallow a Mini Cooper.....Kudos CDP. I love how you post prevalent issues in your Editorials that are pertinent to the entire community.

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colorado_22 2 years, 9 months ago

To ranger520: If they decide to fix this lot up, I WILL essentially be paying for it, thank you very much. I am a taxpayer, and I am perfectly open to the idea of them using my taxpayer dollars to restore this :)

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cory5611 2 years, 9 months ago

And then colorado 22 can pay for all the landscaping cost that the city of Craig whats when they wont clean there own crap up.

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colorado_22 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh no, trust me I fully understood what you were saying ranger520 (YOU obviously don't understand when someone is trying to be sarcastic and get YOUR blood boiling....HA!) And no, it isn't ME who thinks it is a good idea, it's me AND quite a few other community members.

Get off your high horse and get a life you trolls.

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MoCo4life 2 years, 9 months ago

No one is ever obligated to donate their own personal property for community use. The owner is more than entitled to list prime commercial property for sale at whatever price they want. If they want it to sell faster, they'll lower the price. Simple real estate theory. If they don't repond to offers. Yep, their choice too. Is this editorial (yet again) self serving? Yep. If the newspaper wants this property and can't afford the asking price they're out of luck. No one else gets to use the newspaper to browbeat a property owner into lowering their asking price. This was a ridiculous editorial. It's a vacant dirt lot, not a huge eyesore. You honestly contend this is the worst looking lot in Craig? There are much worse properties, but their owners are lucky - they're not right next to the daily press. "But, the lot simply can no longer BE ALLOWED to sit the way it is. If the owner is intent on keeping the property, improvements HAVE to be made." Who does they editorial board think they are to tell someone owner what they HAVE to do with their own property if they're not violating any laws? We only advocate eminent domain when WE want something. Insane. Just insane.

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kp81625 2 years, 9 months ago

You are treading on dangerous ground when you suggest what a person do with their own property, especially in this area. If you don't like how it is being handled, make an offer to buy it and fix it up yourself. Otherwise, stop looking at it. You don't own it and you don't have a say in what it looks like unless you do own it.

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cclarue 2 years, 9 months ago

Lots of valid points have been made on this one - the lot is an eyesore, especially since it is not kept up at all - just mud; and the owner does have the right to do nothing with it. The worst thing about the situation is the owner does NOT allow public parking - absurd. In my opinion it is not the worst looking spot in town; that would have to be the so called storage units (junk yard) on Green/Industrial. How and why the city allows the continued accumulation of cars, trucks, RV's and junk is beyond me. Pretty soon it will be like having another Ike's right in the middle of town. It really is a shame; and the owner should be ashamed.

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