Maybell not likely to help fund campsites

Christina M. Currie

Pipeline workers aren’t going to get something for nothing from the town of Maybell.

In fact, they won’t even get something for a little bit.

Richard Deal, a land man for Gregory & Cook Construction company, approached Moffat County commissioners and Maybell residents Thursday night with an offer to pay a portion of the cost of getting water, sewer and electricity to at least 15 campsites. The sites would house a small portion of the estimated 300 workers the company plans to bring for the construction of a natural gas pipeline starting near Meeker and ending near Cheyenne, Wyo. The pipeline will belong to the El Paso Corp. and Gregory & Cook is a contractor.

Smith offered to give the community about $1,500 to $2,000 plus about $100 a week per site in rent — if the sites were there.

“We don’t have enough places to stay,” he said. “We’re renting basements and spare rooms — anything and everything we can find that’s reasonably livable.”

He thought the offer was one that could benefit the town of Maybell in the long run, perhaps giving hunters and other tourists better accommodations.

“Basically whenever we leave, we’re not taking that with us,” Deal said. “You’ll have that for years to come. The way I see it, you can’t lose.”

Maybell boasts a small hotel and a few campsites at its park, but those don’t have water or sewer hook-ups.

Moffat County Commissioner Darryl Steele said Maybell doesn’t have the money to build campsites and that the money Deal was talking about was too little.

“We would expect you to make a very sizeable donation to this community,” he said. “This (project) is probably going to affect this community more than any other along the entire pipeline just because we’re so small.”

Deal said that construction workers put an estimated 30 percent of their paychecks back into the community. He has been working in Craig and Steamboat to book rooms and is nearing a point of desperation.

“We’re doing this as a service to our employees,” he said. “We’re not obligated to do this at all.”

Employees are paid a daily stipend for their meals and lodging.

Gregory & Cook Company’s employees are the first of an influx expected to take more pillows than Craig and Maybell have. Between the El Paso Pipeline project, the Entrega Pipeline, a power plant outage and hunting season, hotels are filling fast — if they’re not already filled.

“Unfortunately you’ve got three contractors in here who all want the same bed and that just doesn’t work,” Deal said.

He said his company couldn’t bear the entire burden of campsite construction, but that it would be willing to help.

But not enough.

“For us as a community to put out the money it would take, I feel would be very foolish,” Steele said. “We’re willing as a community and a county to provide that space, but we’re not going to put money toward it.”

Steele said the county would be willing to let workers camp at the Maybell fairgrounds, but there are no hook-ups there, something Deal said the workers needed.

Deal expects workers to begin trickling in Oct. 1, and they’ll need rooms through December.

Commissioner Saed Tayyara recommended that Deal work first with private enterprise and landowners before coming to the county.

Steele said he would research the cost of putting in 15 full campsites, but he wasn’t optimistic about what he would find.

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