County OKs funds for reconstruction of Green Mountain recreation facilities

Aug 9, 2013 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Funds are in place to redevelop the Green Mountain recreation area after county commissioners approved a $250,000 line of credit for the project on Tuesday.

The Fremont County Recreation Board has agreed to repay the county within five years at a 2.5 percent interest rate.

Funding for the Green Mountain project became an issue in May and June when commissioners were considering the county's and recreation board's budgets for the upcoming year. The county decided to approve the budgets without the loan and consider the issue later.

Support was unanimous for a motion to approve the line of credit at the Monday meeting, with the exception of commissioner Keja Whiteman, who was not present.

An engineering firm had finished a design for the park, with plans to build nine or 10 pull-through campsites for recreational vehicles, six tent sites, two vault toilets, a large group picnic shelter, a horse corral and a fence. All renovations would be on the north loop of the developed area on the west side of the 41-acre property. A fence would enclose the 21 developed acres to keep out grazing cattle.

Construction would take about 60 days and would start in late September, said recreation board chairman Cade Maestas.

"If we get a green light they think can get everything done by the end of November," he said.

Commission vice chairman Travis Becker was concerned that repaying the loan over five years would affect the recreation board's other work.

Maestas thought the recreation board could pay back roughly $50,000 a year without affecting its other recreation projects. The board had spent $50,000 to 60,000 annually to develop the Heritage Trail connecting Riverton and Shoshoni, but that project is almost complete and will not be an expense in the future.

"Our anticipation is this will have zero negative impact on the groups that come in to ask for money," Maestas said.

Commissioner Larry Allen suggested requiring the recreation board to pay back the borrowed money in four years, but withdrew his motion after Maestas said a four-year schedule could affect the board's grants to other groups.

Becker said he worried construction would take place during the hunting season.

Sportsmen and women do not use the affected area as much, Maestas said, and they could use the upper loop for camping this fall.

Maestas also mentioned a second phase of development beyond the upcoming construction.

Commissioner Stephanie Kessler asked if the recreation board would need a similar line of credit for that project.

"That would not require this level of construction," Maestas said.

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