County approves funding for D Mountain Parks and Rec

RIO GRANDE COUNTY — Rio Grande County Commissioners approved funding that will go toward a feasibility study that could bring an indoor recreation center to Del Norte.

D Mountain Parks and Recreation District Director Jessica Lovelace went before the board on Sept. 15 to again discuss funding for a study to gain insight into what the community wants to be done with the Del Norte Athletic Fields and if an indoor recreation center would be included in those plans.

Over the past year and a half, the County has been working with D Mountain Parks and Recreation District and other organizations, including the Upper Rio Grande School District and Town of Del Norte on a plan for developing 40-plus acres of the Del Norte Athletic Fields.

Through conversations in the past several months, the school district pulled out of negotiations after deadlines for grant funding that would have brought improvements to the land were not met. As a result of the school district's withdrawal, the county is now the sole owner of the land.

D Mountain wants to move forward with developing the land and is exploring an indoor recreation center that would serve the community of Del Norte and surrounding areas.

In a meeting held by commissioners in mid-summer, D Mountain requested just over $3,000 from the County’s Conservation Trust Funds to help with the cost of a study and was told by the board that they would be granted the funding if they could show that other entities were in support of a study.

Lovelace returned for the meeting on Wednesday last week, Sept. 15, and stated that there was additional support for a study from other organizations, including the Town of Del Norte, and requested the County donate a portion of the money.

D Mountain was recently awarded a portion of the costs needed to complete the feasibility study from the Department of Local Affairs for $12,750 and is seeking matching funds in order to hire Ballard King Associates to complete the study.

Commissioners having reviewed the request prior to Wednesday’s meeting immediately approved the request with Commissioner John Noffsker making the motion which was seconded by Commissioner Scott Deacon and passed by unanimous vote.

Lovelace stated that there would be several community meetings beginning with one on Sept. 28 in the county annex building at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend to give input on the project and participate in the feasibility study.

The results of the study will be released when it is completed.