Rifle looks at its progress and looks ahead | PostIndependent.com

Rifle looks at its progress and looks ahead

RIFLE — When Rifle Mayor Randy Winkler was growing up, his father instilled in him a love of sports, and one of his favorite sayings was, “It’s time to bear down.”

That phrase still echoes in Winkler’s mind today and comes into play when he describes the state of the city of Rifle.

“I cannot think of a better way to describe Rifle in the last year,” Winkler said at the 10th annual State of the Community address held Thursday afternoon at Grand River Health. “We have had to ‘bear down.’”

Winkler went through a number of projects the city has been proud to accomplish, as well as some losses the community has also felt.

According to Winkler, one of Rifle’s biggest accomplishments is the new water treatment plant, which is currently out for bid out and within budget.

“I am happy to inform you, as of today, we are on schedule and within budget,” Winkler said.

The city has also acquired property and completed design on the trail behind City Market to complete a trail from Deerfield Park to the Colorado River.

Events at the new Ute Events and Theater Center is also a feather in the city’s cap, Winkler said.

“It’s good to see a variety of great events at the Ute center and good to see money coming in and not out at that facility,” Winkler said. “Thank you, Don Chaney, and everyone in the NUTS group. We have heard nothing but good reviews from performers about the quality of sound and lighting.”

Other speakers at the State of the Community luncheon included Chris Treese of the Colorado River Water Conservation District; Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson; Grand River Health CEO Jim Coombs; and Silt Mayor Rick Aluise.

“We realized that if we wanted Grand River to be great, we needed to change our culture,” Coombs said. “Our mission statement is to improve the health and well-being of the communities that we serve.”

Aluise concluded the meeting.

“The state of the community is dependent on a lot of things,” Aluise said. “It’s different on a governmental level than business. You can’t really look at Silt, New Castle or Rifle without looking at the federal level. The state of the community is the same as it is in Rifle.”

In jest, Aluise summed up what it means to be a small community.

“The art of telling someone to go to hell, and having them look forward to the trip.”

And everyone clapped.

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