City moving forward with efforts to purchase park |

City moving forward with efforts to purchase park

Joe Moylan

The Craig City Council approved next steps Tuesday night in an effort to resolve an issue with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 regarding Craig City Park.

VFW quartermaster Larry Neu said the VFW owns the park land and the city has leased it since 1949.

However, the lease expired in 2009.

The VFW and the city have not reached an extension agreement.

"It hasn't been a real pleasant deal with this negotiating," Neu said. "That's why we backed off and agreed to sell it to the city."

The VFW is willing to part with all of the land it owns south of the municipal swimming pool, as well as the lot where the Marcia Car currently sits as part of any potential sale, Neu said.

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To potentially purchase the land from the VFW, the city council will pursue a Great Outdoors Colorado grant.

But, before the city can apply for the grant, the land must be appraised by a GOCO-approved appraisal company.

On Tuesday night, the council approved, 7-0, hiring Grand Junction-based Arnie Butler & Company to conduct the real estate appraisal for $3,500.

Neu said the VFW agreed to sell the park to the city because it's had difficulty raising money for maintenance due to a reduction in membership.

"In all honesty, our VFW membership has dwindled," Neu said. "It's difficult for us to maintain that building without any additional income. It would be beneficial for us as the VFW post to sell the real estate, put the money towards maintenance of our building and keep it going.

"That's where we're coming from. It's not that we hate the park. It's an asset we have and we reached the point in time where we need to liquidate that in order to keep our post alive."

Dave Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation director, said Arnie Butler & Company would complete the appraisal within 45 days of receiving authorization from the city council.

Once the appraisal is completed, the city council will need to obtain a "letter of intent to sell" from the VFW and submit it to GOCO along with its grant application.

But, the city council's action Tuesday night doesn't necessarily make a sale to the city a foregone conclusion, Neu said.

"The only thing I can say is an appraisal is a starting point for negotiations," Neu said. "Just because they get an appraisal doesn't mean this thing is going to happen."

Neu said the VFW would look for other buyers if the city doesn't come back with an attractive offer.

"We haven't ruled out the option of hiring a real estate agent and putting the park on the market," Neu said.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or

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