Parachute looking to ramp up recreation
Parachute Mayor Roy B. McClung and Town Manager Stuart S. McArthur went before the Garfield County commissioners at Monday’s board meeting to request a boat ramp, and while they did not get the whole pie, they were at least a given a piece as they start a construction project to bring more recreational activities to town.
The project will include a boat ramp for Parachute, similar to what was completed in Rifle toward the end of 2016.
McClung estimated that the cost of the boat ramp will be approximately $364,131, $250,000 of which was requested at Monday’s meeting. Rifle was given $221,245 for its boat ramp.
While the county commissioners said the request was “more than appropriate,” a lack of available funding meant the county could supply only half of the request, or $125,000. They suggested both McClung and McArthur come back in June to request the remaining $125,000. The money will come from the Conservation Trust Fund.
“We cannot commit money that we do not have,” agreed the county commissioners. “We can commit around $100,000 now, and we will keep the door open for additional funding.”
The boat ramp will spark what Parachute hopes to be a real push to develop recreational activities throughout town. In fact, McArthur said outdoor recreation is the highest priority on the town’s economic development plan.
“The ramp is just one portion of the outdoor recreation plan,” he said. “We hope to attract both tourism and increase the town’s residents’ quality of life.”
During the proposal hearing, McClung said Parachute has a total of $3.1 million aimed at recreation projects that focus on diversifying the town’s economy. Aside from the boat ramp, these projects include trail signs, a park-and-ride, Cottonwood Park Upgrade, a disc golf course and more.
“We’d like to have parking and a concrete boat ramp that would allow access for boats to come in and out without going downstream,” McClung told the board. “The town could provide for a boating and rafting rental business. There will be plenty of parking for boats and trailers as well as ATVs. It should provide plenty of options for folks.”
In fact, McArthur alluded to the fact that the town is in talks to put together a private partnership with an outdoor recreation facility to put next to the boat ramp once it is completed. He said the conversation with the individual is ongoing. The shop will supply its costumers with tubes, rafts, off-highway vehicles, bicycles and other types of outdoor equipment.
McArthur said no date has been set to begin construction on the ramp, though the goal is to open it before the summer. He hopes to be done or nearing completion of the ramp by the time they go back to the county commissioners to request the additional $125,000 in June.
“We want to open on July 1,” he confirmed.
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