In the major business items section of the Buena Vista Trustee meeting on July 10, trustees approved a resolution for a professional services agreement between the town and the Colorado Mountain Club to fund mapping of a new mile-long trail on Bureau of Land Management land adjacent to Buena Vista. The project is highly collaborative.
The town is funding the design work, the corridor trail and an overlay of the connector trail, with construction of the trail to be conducted by volunteers from the Southwest Conservation Corps., a division of Americorp. The town will pay the CMC to supervise the work crew, and the Buena Vista Single Track Coalition will pay for the hitching area and also project-manage the second hitch.
“The groups are super familiar with the area, so this makes sense,” said Emily Katsimpolis, assistant to Buena Vista’s town administrator. “I think it would be nearly impossible to build it on only volunteer labor. In the scope of service, they are also going to help us apply for a 2019 grant for trail construction, which will be due in November.”
“We raised some $15,000 from the community for this project,” said Trustee David Volpe. “This is a good demonstration of the partnership between private citizens and their local government. I don’t see anyone doubting what this does for the community.”
A presentation by Kristen Van Norman on the countywide project known as ElevateHer highlighted the program that benefits girls in Chaffee County. ElevateHer has just completed its first full year of operation in the county. Buena Vista provided a grant during the group’s start-up. The focus for year two, said Norman, will be on doubling the number of girls served to 15 girls each in Buena Vista, Leadville and Salida.
“I’ve heard such good things from the girls (about the program),” said Trustee Lawanna Best. “They’ve got more confidence, more self esteem – they’re more outgoing and we’re seeing solid relationships build with the girls.”
Van Norman said funding received in January helped with winter programming by providing gear, trekking poles, snow shoes and training for a March hut trip, something the girls had never had the opportunity to do before. For the first time, girls in the six-week summer program have experienced sports like mountain biking, climbing and rafting.
“There’s a need for this program,” said Van Norman, about the group’s mission to foster self-worth and self-confidence in young women through mentoring, outdoor adventure and holistic wellness programs. “We’re being asked to expand, and that’s why grant funds are needed.”
Norman said funds coming into the program support programming, mileage reimbursement, staff stipends and nutritious meals for the girls. “For half of them, it’s the only nutritious meal they get a day. We also want to get yoga mats and teach yoga; we’re gearing up for program expansion.”
When Trustee Libby Fay asked about the biggest challenge for ElevateHer for the year ahead, Van Norman said, “It’s funding. I have a waiting list of 21 more girls, and I couldn’t accept them because we need funding, especially for transportation – if we could get a 15-passenger van so we can connect between the municipal areas that would be so great.”
Trustees also approved a resolution to amend fee schedules for the Central Colorado Regional Airport. While the regular fees are sufficient for normal operations, some newer airport operations don’t have existing operations fees for emergency uses such as firefighting. Airport Manager Jack Wyles said he is considering adding what some airports call a “flowage fee” for planes that come in with their own fuel but want the airport to pump it.
“I already align the jet fees to the type of firefighting equipment. But I want something in there that shows them we have a fee structure. For staging, we are very convenient and they expect some sort of fee, and I had nothing there.”
“We’ve been busy with the firefighting equipment for the Weston Pass Fire,” said Buena Vista Town Administrator Phillip Puckett. “We did work out an agreement for the Weston Pass Fire – we were a convenient place for them to stage.”