Town of Rico
February 2003 Newsletter

Town Receives $15,000 to Construct Children’s Playground in Jones Park

Great Outdoors Colorado has awarded the Town $15,000 to purchase a playground for Jones Park, the maximum amount allowed under their mini-grant guidelines. The Town is planning to erect the playground this summer in cooperation with the Rico Fire Protection District.

The original cash match required was $8,000. The Town remains committed to a $3,000 cash match and the Rico Children’s Group has received approximately $3,800 in donations as of the end of January. The Rico Children’s Group remains $1,200 shy of reaching their original goal of $5,000.

However, an additional $2,500 is needed above the original amount. There have been substantial price increases in playground equipment since last summer when the project was first planned. Additionally, approximately 87 tons of quality sand needs to be purchased for the surface for safety reasons.

The Dolores County Lottery Committee awarded the Town $1,500 last year to help with the playground project. Since this money had to be spent by November of last year, the Town purchased two pieces of playground equipment for the park.

If anyone would like to make a donation toward this project, please make your check payable to the Rico Children’s Group and send it to the following address:

Rico Children’s Group
c/o Barbara Turrin
PO Box 207
Rico, CO 81332

The Town will recognize all contributors upon completion of the project.

Town and Owner of Rico Mercantile Receive $50,000 from the State Historical Fund

The State Historical Fund has awarded the Town and the owner of the Rico Mercantile $50,000 to assist with the restoration of the building. Since the State Historical Fund can only award grants to local governments and non-profit entities, the Town agreed to sponsor the grant for the owner. The owner will provide the cash match.

It is the intent of the owner to reopen the Rico Mercantile as a grocery store upon completion of the building’s restoration.

Light Pollution

Friendly reminder: The Town would like to remind residents that the Rico Land Use Code requires that all exterior lights be shielded. The direct source of all exterior lighting shall not be visible off the property. The purpose behind this requirement is to help prevent light pollution of the night sky.
Town Begins Towing Abandoned Vehicles

The Town has begun towing abandoned vehicles located in Town rights-of-way.

Friendly Reminder: For abandoned and inoperable vehicles located on private property, it is the responsibility of the property owner to remove such vehicles. The Town is encouraging property owners to remove abandoned and inoperable vehicles in order to prevent enforcement action.

Planning Commission Proposes Changes to the Rico Land Use Code

The Rico Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing regarding proposed amendments to the Rico Land Use Code on Tuesday, February 25th, 2003.

Proposed amendments include the following areas:

· Enactment of parking restrictions for excess weight vehicles on Town rights-of-way
· Enactment of more detailed fence regulations in the Historic Commercial Zone District
· Codification of Historic Landmark Preservation ordinances
· Administrative amendments and clarifications in Article V Subdivisions
· Enactment of provisions governing the expiration of subdivision approvals
· Enactment of a new Article VIII Environmental Development
· Regulations, which incorporates the former sections 450 et. seq. And establishes more detailed wetland protection regulations and flood plain damage prevention regulations.

The proposed amendments are available for viewing at or obtained from the Town Clerk for $10.00 per copy.

Rico Renaissance Proposed Master Plan Amendment Public Hearing

The Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing regarding the proposed Master Plan amendment submitted by Rico Renaissance on Tuesday, February 11th, 2003, at 6:30 PM.

This public hearing is a continuation of the December 3rd, 2003 public hearing regarding the same application. Rico Renaissance has made substantial changes to their original amendment application. The revised application addresses many of the concerns raised by local citizens and members of the Planning Commission at the December 3rd public hearing.

The revised Master Plan Amendment proposal can be viewed at and at the Town Hall.

School Issues

A special election was held on January 14, 2003, regarding a Rico School Reorganization Plan which proposed detaching the Rico area from the Dolores County School District and joining the Telluride School District. The Reorganization Plan required voter approval in both the Dolores County School District as well as the Telluride School District. The proposal passed in the Telluride School District with 233 yes votes and 154 no votes, but failed to pass in the Dolores County School District with 136 yes votes and 283 no votes, thus the reorganization plan failed. Rico voters strongly supported the proposed reorganization plan with 76 yes votes and 22 no votes. There were 31 absentee ballots from Rico which could not be separated from the District wide absentee votes by the County Clerk.

Parents who desire participation and enrollment of their children in the Telluride school system are organizing to continue their efforts. A meeting has been scheduled on Monday, February 17th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rico Town Hall, to continue discussions on this effort. Pamela Suckla from the State Board of Education has agreed to come to this meeting. Everyone interested is invited to attend this meeting.

Mine Discharges

Atlantic Richfield Company (“ARCO”) is continuing to work on a proposed treatment plant and remediation plan for the mine discharges into the Dolores River and Silver Creek. Attorneys for ARCO have submitted a proposal for the formation of a non-profit entity that would own properties and hold a State water quality discharge permit. The proposed non-profit would be governed by a board comprised of ARCO, Rico Renaissance, and the Town of Rico. Under the proposal ARCO would pay for the construction and operation of a treatment plant. The non-profit would also be used for a “brownfields” light industrial park redevelopment. Brownfields refers to federal grant and loan funding for the reclamation of contaminated properties in order to promote redevelopment. The light industrial park would be determined jointly by the Town and Rico Renaissance. The Town Board will consider this proposed non-profit at its regular meeting on February 19th.

Town is reviewing the Upper Dolores River and Silver Creek Basin Water Quality and Discharge Monitoring summary submitted by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. State and Federal officials have indicated that they are willing to schedule a community meeting in late March to present information, explain the status of the enforcement action, and answer community questions.

Rico Historical Society Receives Restoration Grants

Rico Renaissance has donated a conservation easement for the three historic structures in Town (Atlantic Cable Headframe, Van Winkle Headframe, and the RGS Water Tank). In addition to donating the conservation easement Erin Johnson also donated $1,000.00 to the Rico Historical Society on behalf of Rico Renaissance. The Rico Historical Society has been awarded $38,000 from the State Historical Society for restoration of the structures. The Office of Community Services in Durango has approximately $9,600.00 to help with the local matching funds for this project.

President’s Day

The Town Hall will be closed Monday, February 17th, in observance of President’s Day.

Meeting Times

The Town Board meets regularly the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM.

The Planning Commission meets regularly the last Tuesday of each month at 6:30 PM.

Rico Mercantile Building

The Town and owner of the Rico Mercantile have received a $50,000 grant from the State Historical Fund to restore the building. The owner plans on opening a grocery store upon completion of the restoration project.

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