“With that said, there is a facet of people in this community I refer to by the acronym CAVE — citizens against virtually everything. I would hate to see our nature continue to be against this community moving forward.” — Chris Nichols, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board secretary/treasurer
The Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board convened in executive session Thursday to discuss two contracts pivotal to the construction of a live fire training tower in Craig.
Fire officials have said the building of a training tower is the first phase of a second fire station, which will be constructed at some point in the future.
The training tower has been a prominent topic in recent weeks because the proposed site is near The Memorial Hospital in Craig and slated to be built on Colorado Northwestern Community College land.
Upon exiting the executive session, Todd Ficken, of Niwot-based F&D International, LLC, summarized the two contracts before the board for approval.
F&D International is an architectural and engineering firm, and Ficken is serving as a project manager for the training tower.
The first contract up for approval was a land transfer agreement between the fire district and CNCC.
The college recently valued the land at $248,000.
According to the CNCC dedication statement, the land must be used for no other purpose than for the “use of an instruction training live fire simulator, fire station, or other facility, in support of the grantee’s mission to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public within the boundaries of the district.”
The land would revert back to CNCC if not developed in the next five years, the contract states.
The district board approved the contract by a 4-0 vote, contingent upon CNCC’s approval, without changes, during its June 7 board meeting.
The board also approved allowing board president Byron Willems to execute the contract should CNCC approve it as presented.
The next item on the agenda was to approve a contract with WHP Trainingtowers, the developer of the structure.
According to the agreement, the structure itself is anticipated to cost $470,000 of the board’s budgeted $1.5 million for the project.
Willems said the board went out to bid on the project and decided on WHP because it provided for the use of local contractors to perform additional jobs such as foundation and infrastructure.
The ability to use local contractors not only keeps a good portion of the cost in town, it could make it easier to stay within budget, Ficken said.
“Of course our goal is the more we can do locally the better off we all are,” Willems said.
Although Chris Nichols, fire board secretary/treasurer, voiced approving the WHP contract without any contingencies in order to get the site drawings underway, the board decided instead to approve the contract pending CNCC’s approval of the land transfer agreement.
“It is my opinion that this board feels strongly of the need for this training tower and we’re going to build it one place or another,” Nichols said. “We have two other site options, which are not our first choice whatsoever.
“Public officials in this community get beat up constantly for no forward thinking and not planning for the future, and that’s why we selected that piece of property between the college and the hospital.”
During audience comments, local resident Bruce Timberg accused the board of lying to the public about the training tower when the fire department’s mill levy passed in 2006 and questioned where the project fit into the department’s 10-year plan.
“Things have changed, the priorities of the district have changed…this is one tiny piece of what I proposed in 2002, and it’s something the firefighters need for safety and training,” Nichols said. "We’re on budget, we’re on plan and we’re fiscally responsible with your money.
“With that said, there is a facet of people in this community I refer to by the acronym CAVE — citizens against virtually everything. I would hate to see our nature continue to be against this community moving forward.”
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