Condition of Moffat County park concerns Craig community |

Condition of Moffat County park concerns Craig community

Patrick Kelly
An aerial photo of ball fields at Loudy-Simpson Park taken on Aug. 1. Craig City Councilor Derek Duran said he hired pilot Luke Tucker to take the aerial photograph.

When Doug Griffiths presented his book 13 Ways to Kill Your Community to Craig and Moffat County residents at the end of June one of the things he spoke about was appearance.

“Don’t Paint” is Griffiths’ sixth pitfall on the list of mistakes that prevent communities from growing their economies and ensuring quality of life for residents.

With this theme in mind, the Moffat County commissioners hope to address recent concerns about the appearance of Loudy-Simpson Park and ensure all county facilities are looking good.

Commissioner Frank Moe — who is one of the main organizers to bring Griffiths to Craig — said two people approached him at the Moffat County Balloon Festival the first weekend of August to question the condition of the park.

“It affects our economy and our psyche, too,” Moe said. “We want to be proud for whatever we have. I feel we need to raise the bar.”

Complaints about the length of the grass at during Whittle the Wood and Balloon Fest made their way to all the commissioners.

Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe said usually the grass is cut a week before the event so it’s at a length where it won’t be killed by the foot traffic and won’t trip people, either.

This year, the county mistimed the mowing and the grass was an inconvenience to some, Grobe said.

“We let it go too long,” he said.

Two county employees are responsible for upkeep at Loudy and Moe noted that Moffat County Maintenance Manager Lennie Gillam has to work within the limits determined by the commissioner’s budget.

In 2016, the county did budget $15,000 for capital projects at the park, up from nothing in 2015.

Grobe said the county does not have much to spare when it comes to capital outlay so the commissioners are allocating funds to budget line items on a rotating basis.

“We just wanted to throw something in there for capital because we don’t have a lot of extra money for capital, right now,” he said. “We’re trying to build up and throw a little money in every year in different capital line items so that we’re working towards something.”

The commissioners also recently approved two new bathrooms with a price tag of $176,981 for installation in the park this fall.

The funding for the project came through the Great Outdoors Colorado program, which is specifically for improving recreational infrastructure.

Moe said that the fees collected by the county need to line up with what the park has to offer.

Earlier this year, the commissioners approved a $600 league fee per team, doubling the $300 teams paid last year to use the ball fields at Loudy. If a team wanted to use the lights, the fee went up to $1,200.

As reported by the Craig Daily Press in March, members of the local softball league did not believe that was a fair price for what they were getting.

“Our grass is horrible, the infields are horrible, the bases are cracking, the lights work half the time,” said Tanya Ferguson, former Craig Softball Association treasurer in a March interview.

Both Moe and Grobe agreed Loudy-Simpson has been an important resource for the county and said they are willing to hear out any concerns from the community.

“First we have to see what the issues are and then find out why it happened,” Grobe said.

For the city of Craig, Woodbury Park has been a hit this summer with extra business, including a city soccer league and multiple weekends of Triple Crown Baseball.

“We’ve hosted three weekends of Triple Crown,” Craig Parks and Recreation Director Dave Pike said.

Loudy saw two weekends of Triple Crown tournaments but Pike said the appearance of the ball fields did not go unnoticed.

“I know Triple Crown was a little concerned with the condition of the fields,” he said.

Pike said having nice parks that look good is part of the quality of life in Craig and one of the city’s responsibilities. It is also an aspect of the local economy.

“Our parks are economic development,” he said. “People come to town and they use those facilities and you either get a good reputation or you get a bad reputation.”

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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