Dec 2, 2012 - By Eric Blom, Staff WriterThe Fremont County Recreation Board has a tentative renovation plan in place for the Green Mountain picnic area. The upgrade could be complete by next fall, Fremont County Commissioners were told.
Recreation board member Cade Maestas of Lander said Green Mountain currently has picnic areas, three bear-proof trash containers and one vault toilet.
"There's really only room for two campers," Maestas added. "The outhouse out there is not (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant."
At the Nov. 13 meeting, Maestas said improvements would include rebuilding part of the road to the picnic area as well as nine or 10 sites for recreational vehicles and six tent sites. The recreation board also wants to install two vault toilets, a large picnic shelter, a horse corral and a fence.
Maestas said big groups use Green Mountain a lot.
"There's a wedding up there almost every Saturday in the summer," he said.
All renovations would be on the north loop of the developed area on the west side of the 41-acre property. The fence would enclose the 21 developed acres to keep out grazing cattle.
Maestas said the sites would have no fee. They would be used on a first-come first-served basis and would not have hook-ups for electricity, water or sewer.
In a separate conversation, Maestas said the picnic spot was built in the late 1970s, and he has seen no new construction since then.
About five years ago the board decided on a rough plan to upgrade the site, and the county commission approved it, Maestas said.
Fremont County School District 1 had owned the land, but that group deeded the property to the county last year. Engineering firm Dowl HKM surveyed the site earlier this year and drew up a renovation plan based on the recreation board's vision.
Dowl HKM estimated the upgrade would cost up to $275,000 based on market rates for materials.
Maestas said the recreation board could likely find cheaper prices for some materials like road fill and fencing to lower the total price.
The recreation board could budget $50,000 to $75,000 a year to renovate Green Mountain, Maestas said. He said the budget for the project would depend on the board's grants to the community, spending on other projects, and the tax base. Maestas also said outside grants could help pay for the renovation.
The recreation board expects to save money by doing all construction in one year. A construction company would have an $11,000 mobilization fee to do any construction, he said, and if all construction happens in one year, the board will only pay that fee once. If the project takes several years, the board will have to pay that fee several times.
The board hopes to accomplish the task in one year by asking the county to provide all the money up front, Maestas said. The board would then pay the county back over several years.
The recreation board and commissioners would still have to give final approval, Maestas said.
If the county did front the costs, he said the renovation could be finished by next fall. If construction happens in stages, it could take four to six years.
Maestas said later improvements at Green Mountain could include mountain bike trails, nature study trails and interpretative sites.
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