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County asks rec board to get 'creative' in funding campground construction

Jul 17, 2013 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

A plan to build a campground at Green Mountain received a lukewarm reaction from the Fremont County commissioners during a June 18 meeting.

"I support doing the campground, but I'm not sure if it's at the top of my priority list," commissioner Keja Whiteman said. "We can't figure out how we're going to pay for health insurance. I'm not ready to spend $250,000 on the campground."

The recreation board plans to construct the campground in southeast Fremont County using a $250,000 loan from the county, which the rec board would repay over several years. Whiteman said the group should look into grants to pay for construction costs and ask groups like the Wyoming Conservation Corps to do the work before seeking a loan from the county.

Commission vice chairman Travis Becker said the rec board also could use alternative labor sources such as inmates at the Wyoming Honor Farm instead of a general contractor to reduce costs. However, commission chairman Doug Thompson said having a contractor do the majority of work would be necessary because the recreation board volunteers don't have much ability to oversee laborers.

He agreed that some work, such as putting up fencing, could be done by other groups, which would reduce the costs.

Rather than add to the recreation board's budget, though, Thompson said he would rather see loan repayment worked into the rec board's current revenues.

"I'd like to see them maybe reduce some of the granting opportunities until that's paid off," he said referring to a loan. "I support getting the project in and done rather than dragging it out."

Thompson also pointed out the group could look for grants to repay the loan to free up funds for smaller projects.

The county board decided to ask the recreation district to be more "creative" with funding and labor, but commissioners did not say they are opposed to granting a loan.

On June 3, the rec board proposed a budget for this year granting $163,000 to other groups for small projects, allocating $15,000 for the Heritage Trail, $15,000 for the Fremont County Youth Camp, $15,000 for maintenance at the Green Mountain picnic area and $15,000 for mid-year grants.

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