Gilpin County Corner Column

Roger Baker
Gilpin CountyGilpin County Corner

Stopping by the Fair Saturday gave me a look at a number of small improvements that the County has made that might be missed but are still worth mentioning. My first stop was at the transfer station, and two small but useful changes impressed me.
First, the guys have put signs with straps attached to keep the bin doors closed on the recycling rolloff when any given bin is full; that’s a clever change, one that will keep people from the frustration of getting ready to dump a bin of newspaper only to find the bin is already jam-packed.
Second, they’ve strung some black plastic netting (fencing material, actually) between the dumpster for the cardboard recycling and the inclined drive to the compactor. That keeps folks from trying to toss cardboard in and missing, and having it fall between the dumpster and the drive; again, pretty clever, and should keep things neater around there. Kudos to whoever came up with these innovations.
Then on my way to the Fairgrounds, I saw the large and visible pedestrian signs that have been erected at those points where the walking trail crosses Norton Drive; again, that’s a little thing, but increasing drivers’ awareness of the potential for unexpected pedestrian traffic can only keep everybody safer.
Of course, the Fair itself is a 20-year history of small improvements, with the occasional big change as well. Vicki Nemec and the Fair Committee are always trying to make the event better (horseshoes! fly casting!) without necessarily making it bigger (or more expensive!)
This year’s Fair was probably the best ever — food vendors were running out of their wares, which is always a good sign (unless you wanted an Italian sausage sandwich late Sunday afternoon).
Bigger changes, though, require the Commissioners to weigh in, and there was discussion of one such project at the Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday. A generous donor, Ken Burch, has given thousands of dollars to support our recreation programs over the years, and this year Recreation Coordinator Kathi Lambert decided it would be appropriate to use some of those dollars to purchase and construct a picnic pavilion at the ball fields. Families who come to watch their kids in organized league play, or even just a casual afternoon of catch, can have lunch and generally make a day of it.
Again, though, cost-efficiency is always a goal, so Kathi wanted to maximize the donation dollars by applying for a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado — that’s lottery money. That’s why the Commissioners got involved, to authorize the grant and swear that we’ll maintain the building if GOCO gives us the money.
At some time, of course, there are other big changes that may need to be made; maybe one day we’ll cover the arena, or build some new ball fields.
Those are projects that will require a little more discussion, and a lot more dollars. It’s great we have such dedicated and innovative staff, and such an involved and caring community — the High Country Auxiliary pancake breakfast is both a great feature of the Fair and a fabulous fundraiser for that organization. Government, non-profits, local businesses and generous and civic-minded individuals — we all want to make this an even better place to live, work and play.
Now, start praying for rain again.

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