From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 105, Number 10 - March 13, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Town Council supports community center

by Alecia Warren

After waiting for more than a year, a group of ambitious citizens is one step closer to giving their county a fine arts community center.

The Pinedale Town Council gave approval at Monday’s meeting for council member Dave Hohl to approach the County Commissioners about forming a Joint Powers Board to organize efforts for building a Sublette County Community Center.

The board will look for funding, help design the building, and presumably include members of the County Commissioners, the Town Council, and any other interested parties, Hohl said. “We’ve reached the point where we need to formalize organization,” he said. He’ll present his proposal to the commissioners at their meeting next Tuesday.

A group of citizens, comprised of Pinedale Fine Arts Council (PFAC) members and other county residents, have discussed obtaining a center for art performances and community meetings for years, but only started taking action last spring, Hohl said.

Since then, the County Commissioners have granted the group funding for preliminary and needs studies predicting the space required by local businesses and arts groups. A hired consultant completed an additional feasibility study in October, which Hohl presented at the meeting. The study concluded that the center would require a 400-seat banquet room to accommodate conventions or athletic awards ceremonies, as well as a 300-seat indoor theater, classrooms, art studios, an outdoor theater and administrative offices.

“One of my prime examples of what (the center) can do is with theater – right now, we have a community theater group that has done productions over the years in various places around town, and just had the dinner theater performance in the community church,” Hohl said.

Because the church venue was so small, the four shows sold out in just a few days. A community center would allow a larger performance space, and also provide a central location for other theater performances like high school plays and the summer Shakespeare performances that have been previously scattered around the county.

The facility might even inspire all new productions, Hohl said.

“The point of having this venue will be for stimulation, whereas now, (performance locations) are almost a kind of a burden,” he said.

Council member Nylla Kunard said she would like to be involved on the board. “I would really like to see (the community center) happen,” Kunard said after the meeting. The town’s usual event venue, Rendezvous Pointe, is difficult to book, and other locations like the Sublette County Library or the High School Auditorium are too small to accommodate large meetings and performances.

“It seems the only way to accomplish (the center) is through a Joint Powers Board, but whether that will work or not depends on amount of money available,” she said. Funding the center with a 1 percent sales tax might be one option, she said.

John Godfrey, Chairman of the Sublette County Joint Tourism Promotion Board, said a community center would boost tourism. If regional and interstate groups held multi-day events in Pinedale, they would rent hotel rooms, eat at local restaurants and buy souvenirs, he added, and he hopes the tourism board members will be included on the Joint Powers Board.

“All too often I see in our community folks going in the same direction but on different paths,” Godfrey said.

Hohl assured him that the Joint Powers Board would likely contain members of all community organizations.

“At this instance, we’re just starting the details on how the organization will work,” Hohl said, “We’re in our infancy, so don’t expect too many details at this point.”

In other Town Council news:

— Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie could not provide recommendations on contractors to hire for the town sewer rehabilitation project and town drainage study as planned. After receiving bids from 46 contractors submitted on March 6, Ninnie is still contacting references, he said.

The council agreed to have a special meeting with Ninnie next Tuesday to make a decision on awarding the contracts.

— The council granted a height variance for Reed’s Construction Company to build a 66-foot cement silo for its new batch plant. The height variance is attached to the specific use of the batch plant. The new equipment should reduce the dust, noise and water spilling onto the streets that neighbors have complained about, said David Reed, representing Reed’s Construction, located on Wilson Street behind County Lane Liquors.

The council approved an agreement between the town and the county to create an easement across town property as part of a pathway proposed by the Sublette County Recreation Board. The pathway will extend from behind Pinedale High School, cross Pine Creek and end at Willow Lake Road. Construction of the pathway will begin this summer, said Recreation Board representative Brian Gray.

— Sue Kramer with Pinedale Recycling gave a report on the town’s recycling since Jan. 16. Pinedale Recycling has recycled 115.27 tons of cardboard and 76.4 tons of other commodities.

Kramer said she hasn’t had time to look into the extent of the program’s curbside recycling, but she said she believes that if someone wants to recycle but isn’t able to, they can call Pinedale Recycling for curbside pickup.

Kramer also intends to apply for community recycling bins from a community-recycling program offered by Coca-Cola and the National Recycling Coalition.

— The council chose not to vote on the county Maintenance Department’s request for a building permit for a Sublette County Maintenance Facility. The council will wait until Ninnie reviews the changes made in the department’s proposal since the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last week.

— The council approved the preliminary plat for Harvest Dance Addition first filing for residential development. The property would be split into four residential lots.

— The council approved the first reading of Ordinance 437 amending section 15.04.040 in Pinedale Municipal Code concerning applications in C-1 and C-2 zones.

The ordinance requires building applications to be submitted 20 working days prior to a Planning and Zoning meeting, increased from 14 working days.

— The council approved the first reading of Ordinance 438 amending 13.65.070 concerning applications for multi-family structures. The ordinance requires applications to be submitted 20 working days prior to a Planning and Zoning meeting.

The next Town Council meeting is on March 24.

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