On Tuesday, June 16 Las Animas County Commissioners met for their regular meeting and heard a presentation from University of Colorado in Denver (UC Denver) Masters students regarding potential renovation considerations for the County Fairgrounds. The UC Denver University Technical Assistance Program, who has handled the design process for the grounds, thus far has been supported largely by DOLA Energy Impact funds.
Masters of Landscape Architecture student Alena Gagnon and Masters of Architecture student Todd Jones gave respective explanations of potential concepts for both the outdoor spaces and several structures. The program’s director, Jeffery Wood was also present to share thoughts about the project.
Starting off, Gagnon showed a layout of potential pathways that would circle the fairgrounds and give people a chance to use the grounds for walking or other exercise considerations. There were also several concepts brought forward with different configurations of a park with pavilions for potential rental and a sports field.
There were also numerous examples given of other possible landscape architecture considerations along with shade and outdoor use spaces to maximize potential activities and uses.
Following Gagnon’s presentation, Jones explained several possible concept designs for both the grand stands as well as the pavilion. He explained that at the pavilion, the potential design would accommodate two event spaces and a kitchen along with bathrooms and storage. The kitchen was designed in all schemes with a classroom attached allowing it to be used for cooking classes and other similar events.
“We stand ready as soon as we’re released from quarantine or whatever we’re calling it,” said Wood following the student presentations. “We’ll make sure that there’s a display and have a follow up community meeting. It would be great to have a meeting on the fairgrounds itself at some point. We’re not looking at making any of this final but when we go to the community at large we want to let them know that their input is important and nothing is set in stone just yet.”
Commissioner Luis Lopez said he looked forward to seeing one of his passion projects getting taken care of.
“This has been a dream of mine since I came into office nearly four years ago,” said Luis Lopez. “Hopefully by the time I’m out of office it will come to fruition.”
Funding for moving forward with the renovation project would likely come from a variety of grant sources such as Colorado Great Outdoors (GOCO) grants and Department of Local Affairs Energy Impact grants. Wood said there were many other creative options to raise funding as well.
County Administrator Phil Dorenkamp said the county would be sending out a Survey Monkey survey to residents in the coming weeks to receive feedback on which designs people liked most.
Also at the meeting, commissioners heard an update from Las Animas County Sheriff Derek Navarette regarding the new deputy officer who would be stationed in Kim.
“We will soon have a resident deputy in Kim, Mark Jackson, and it’ll be nice to have a deputy in that part of the county again,” said Sherriff Derek Navarette. “Thanks for helping us get that position back. That will help everybody and we hope to get him going fairly soon.”
Providing an update for the County Clerk, Chief Deputy Clerk Joseph Mestas said ballot had been sent out and they’ve already started getting quite a few back. He also added that starting on June 22, their offices would be offering curbside services through June 30 to help residents get their ballots in and votes cast in addition to the online and phone service that continue to be available.
Commissioners also approved a memorandum of understanding cooperative agreement with municipalities within Las Animas County regarding a Coronavirus Relief Fund with the county totaling $1,244,428. These funds would be distributed by the county to communities who opted in according to County Administrator Phil Dorenkamp.