Whittle the Wood shifting locations to Loudy-Simpson Park | CraigDailyPress.com

Whittle the Wood shifting locations to Loudy-Simpson Park

Joe Moylan

Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, a summer fixture in Craig and perhaps the most popular local event of the year, is moving from its traditional site at Craig City Park.

Whittle the Wood, scheduled for June 13 through 16, will move this year from City Park to Loudy-Simpson Park, as agreed upon Tuesday by the Moffat County Commission and City of Craig officials.

"I am very supportive of that because it is a very good facility," commissioner Audrey Danner said. "I think it will make for a good event."

Craig City Manager Jim Ferree and Craig Parks and Recreation Director Dave Pike represented the city at Tuesday's county commission meeting.

Before granting the request, the commission raised concerns about the city's ongoing negotiations with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 over lease arrangements for Whittle the Wood's longtime home at City Park.

"What is going to happen if we grant permission to use the park, but then you work out an agreement with the VFW?" commissioner Tom Mathers asked. "Will you hold it at City Park?"

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Pike said the city's request had little to do with the VFW and the park negotiations. He said the event would be at Loudy-Simpson regardless of whether a resolution was reached with the veteran's organization.

"And on top of that, we've been talking for a while that Whittle the Wood has probably outgrown City Park anyway," Ferree said.

"Last year we had to turn a lot of vendors away, and it's time to start looking for a new venue."

Last year, 33 arts and crafts vendors and eight food vendors traveled to Craig to participate in Whittle the Wood.

The city is hoping to attract more vendors now that the event will take place at Loudy-Simpson.

Woodbury Park was also on the city's short list of new sites for the event.

"But, the aesthetics out there at Loudy are just so much better than Woodbury," Pike said.

As in years past, Pike said there will not be a specific theme for the event's main draw, the wood carvers, so as not to hold back their creativity.

"They are as one with the wood," Ferree said. "The designs are already in there, but they have to feel it."

Also taking place the same weekend is the annual Triple Crown baseball tournament, which city officials believe may help grow the event in the future.

However, Pike expects Whittle the Wood to draw at least 3,000 people and officials discussed if having two events in the same location could cause traffic and parking problems.

In response to the concerns, the city is considering shuttling people into Loudy-Simpson from other locations, such as City Park and Yampa Valley Golf Course, to keep congestion manageable.

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At its regular meeting today, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, hiring a project manager/engineer for the planning department.

• Denied, 2-1, inviting the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to conduct an Emergency Medical Services assessment of Moffat County.

• Reviewed a 2012 “Budget in Brief” pamphlet.

• Met Betsy Nauman-Cook, new Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership director, and discussed EDP goals.

• Approved, 3-0, purchasing a Bobcat mini excavator for the Moffat County Fairgrounds department for $38,673.62.

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