Craig City Council: City still wishes to work with VFW |

Craig City Council: City still wishes to work with VFW

To the editor:

In response to Friday’s article in the Craig Daily Press, we, the members of Craig City Council, feel it is important to present additional information regarding the city’s desire to work with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 to lease or purchase the park. For more than 60 years, the City of Craig and the VFW have worked together under a lease agreement to maintain the park north of the VFW for the betterment of our community. The city still wishes to do so.

The VFW was deeded the park by The Women’s Civic Improvement Club with the intent that the property remain a public park in perpetuity. Historically, the VFW has leased the property to the City of Craig, and the lease agreement, which expired in 2009, required the city to maintain the park at its own expense. The city, at no expense to the VFW, has done its best to honor the wishes of the original owners. In addition to what was required under the lease, the city also has provided the VFW free water, sewer and trash service for decades. Despite the expired lease agreement, the city has continued to maintain the park as if the lease were still in effect.

This summer, the city and members from the VFW began negotiations to renew the lease agreement. During the course of the lease renewal negotiations, the VFW presented the property for sale as an alternative to a lease agreement. Because the park purchase could be eligible for Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) funding, the city utilized a GOCO-approved appraiser, Butler & Associates.

The appraisal document points out that the use of the park property is restricted to public use as a park, and ultimately this impacts the market value of the land. Because of the restrictions in the deed, market value was determined to be $25,500.

As a governing body, we must always consider what is best for the community. Tax dollars must be spent wisely; therefore we offered the VFW the appraised amount. The VFW perceives this offer as an insult, and that was never the intent of this council. The VFW wishes to do what is best for its members and the organization, and if selling the property at that price is not what they feel is best, that is their decision. Should the VFW desire to talk the city regarding the future of the park, we would be more than willing to do so. The VFW is not required to sell this property to us nor to anyone else, but they are required to use the property as it was deeded. This is in the best interest of the community and honors the original intent of the Women’s Civic Improvement Club.

Craig City Council

Ray Beck

Gene Bilodeau

Joe Bird

Terry Carwile, mayor

Don Jones

Jennifer Riley

Byron Willems

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