Town holds off on naming a park to honor the Utes |

Town holds off on naming a park to honor the Utes

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE, Colorado – The Board of Trustees agreed to look into naming a local park in acknowledgment of the Ute tribe of Native Americans who once occupied the Roaring Fork Valley, at the urging of Trustee John Hoffmann.

But before any naming can be done, the trustees agreed, more discussion is needed.

“I’m ashamed to say, having grown up here, that I know very little about the history of the Utes in this area,” said Trustee Pam Zentmyer.

Mayor Stacey Bernot, like most of the trustees, was open to the idea of naming a park in honor of the Utes but was worried that others in the community might feel slighted.

“I think we need to do some research,” Bernot said. “I think we’re just a little ahead of the curve here.”

She argued, and others agreed, that the town needs to establish a clear policy concerning the naming of publicly owned properties, and that there needs to be some public education on the subject before anything is done.

“There’s a lot of wonderful people and organizations and groups in this community,” Bernot said, after voicing a concern that without a clear policy the town could “open up a can of worms, naming something that’s already been named.”

Hoffmann told his fellow trustees he had been talking about the idea with Roland McCook, a Ute tribal elder and former member of the tribal council of the Uncompahgre Ute tribe.

McCook, who lives in Montrose and has worked with federal land managers on Ute historical issues, is scheduled for a talk on Ute history on Feb. 20 at the Third Street Center.

Zentmyer, while not doubting McCook’s standing in the tribe, asked whether he was the only tribal official who should be consulted on the subject of naming a town park, and whether there were others in the area who should be included in the talks.

“He’s the only guy in this area,” Hoffmann responded.

Hoffmann said there are a couple of likely candidates for the renaming, including the Stairway Park on the banks of the Crystal River at the western edge of town.

“I’m sympathetic to this,” said Trustee Frosty Merriott, “I like the idea a lot.”

But he agreed that more discussion is needed before any steps are taken.

In other action the trustees:

• Approved special events liquor licenses for events planned by three organizations: Ducks Unlimited, which will hold a fundraising event on March 2 at The Orchard Church of Carbondale; the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities, for the Green is the New Black fashion show and fundraiser on March 8-9 at the Third Street Center; and the Carbondale Clay Center, which will hold its “Pairings” fundraiser, offering hand-made cups for sale and an array of beverages for tasting at the Center on March 5.

• Approved liquor license renewals for two restaurants, Mi Casita and Peppinos, both on Main Street.

• Renewed a medical marijuana dispensary license for the Doctor’s Garden medical marijuana center, 580 Main St.

• Agreed to send a letter to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission stating the town board’s opposition to gas drilling proposals in the Thompson Divide area southwest of town.

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