Loudy-Simpson silt pile creates obstacles for summer events
May 9, 2014
With the onset of summer comes some exciting events at Loudy-Simpson Park. But because of a county project, some festivities will have to be adjusted.
Loudy-Simpson’s pond long had been almost unusable. As of 2013, the pond was only about a foot and a half deep in its deepest parts. The county put together a $300,000 budget to get the pond at a good depth so people could use it to fish and float. After they pulled 40,000 yards of silt from the pond throughout the course of the winter, it now is 10 to 12 feet deep. But the silt pulled out of the pond needed to go somewhere, and keeping cost in mind, the county hauled it — not to the landfill, which would have cost more initially and required a permit — and dumped it across the road from the pond on the grassy field in Loudy-Simpson park.
Moffat County Commissioners decided to address two issues at once and used the silt from the pond on the field to level it out. But they had not foreseen it being so high. They anticipated about 3 feet, but there are some parts of the silt pile that are at least twice that high.
"It was too liquidy to haul," Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers said. "That field was so unlevel. Our goal is to level it."
The county is waiting for the fall, after the hot summer dries up some of the wet earth, to grate the pile and make it look more like a field, said Roy Tipton, director of Moffat County Development Services.
The silt can be moved "when it's dried out, but you're probably talking end of summer before we can move any of that," he said.
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By summer 2015, it should look like part of the park, Mathers said. Some of the dirt even could be used to improve the baseball fields, he said.
But the silt pile takes up parts of the park that were used for overflow parking for Whittle the Wood and balloon launching for the balloon festival.
"It will be a small inconvenience, and we'll have to do a better job of getting people in and out," said Dave Pike, director of Craig Parks and Recreation and Whittle the Wood organizer.
Pike had been told that silt would be dumped in that location, but he admitted to being surprised at how much.
"I was shocked at the mass of dirt that was there," he said.
Rnady Looper, board member for the annual Balloon Festival that takes place at Loudy-Simpson Park, said that they would have to change where they launch balloons because of the pile.
"We're going to move the balloon launches to where the disc golf used to be," he said. But that shouldn't take away from the festival, he said.
Pike's major worry would be the effect the silt may have on events. The vendors for Whittle the Wood would be right next to it.
"I'm a little bit concerned that if it stinks, we might get complaints from our visitors and vendors," he said.
But Mathers said that smell shouldn't be a problem.
"Right now, you could have a picnic next to it and never notice," he said.
Either way, the project needed to be done, and there wasn't much way around dumping it where it is, Mathers said.
"With any change … people are going to have to bite the bullet. It'd be nice to do the project in one swoop and have it all done," he said. But it'll take time.
Pike laughed when he mentioned a bright side to the silt pile being there. He might not have to put security fences up behind the vendors.
"That's our crowd control for that side of the park now," he said.
Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or email@example.com.
Noelle Leavitt Riley contributed to this report. Contact her at 970-875-1790 or firstname.lastname@example.org.